STANDING in the sand dunes at Rye, Josie Jones is pleased to note the absence of rubbish.
She is there to promote a community walk at Hastings to raise money and awareness of the Dolphin Research Institute, for which she has designed and added a poster to her “I’m really a mermaid” series.
No stranger to the foreshore at Rye, Ms Jones has for the past 12 years walked its length and breadth collecting rubbish either dropped by careless beachgoers or dropped in the bay.
A graphic designer, Ms Jones estimates she’s collected four tonnes of rubbish in a personal campaign that’s been recognised with a KVB Tidy Towns: Dame Phyllis Frost Award for “her outstanding commitment to her work in sustainability”.
A regular speaker at schools and community groups, she is a keen diver and likes to mention the “full stable of seahorses” under Rye pier.
The presence of the seahorse colony exemplifies the need for a clean bay.
“The end result of dropping rubbish on land ends in the sea,” Ms Jones says.
“I’m passionate about people coming together and working together.”
Part of her vision is to help the Dolphin Research Centre, something she can achieve by producing a series of posters with her graphic art skills.
She has also become something of a statistician, counting and weighing rubbish to convince people of the growing waste problem. Over two months she collected 5879 cigarette butts.
“I take a psychological approach. I don’t take no for an answer and I love seeing people succeed.”
Ms Jones says she has gained the support of a supermarket in collecting rubbish left lying in its car park and is now trying to convince Mornington Peninsula Shire that installing and regularly emptying a recycling bin is a lot cheaper than burying rubbish at the tip.
“I come up with solutions and I’m persistent.” Story by Keith Platt