A TRIP to the beach should involve swimming, lying on the sand - and rubbish collection, says Roberta Dixon-Valka, a marine ecologist from Forresters Beach on the central coast.
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Ms Dixon-Valk and a team of environmentalists won the $50,000 inaugural Taronga Zoo Green Grant last night, after being chosen from seven finalists as the best idea inspiring Australians to live more sustainably.
Called ''Take 3'', the campaign calls on people to pick up three pieces of rubbish every time they leave the beach. ''This campaign is really about personal responsibility,'' Ms Dixon-Valk said. ''Anyone can do it, and it doesn't require money or much time. We're humbled that this idea has been selected as the winning project, because we are a small group of volunteers and are a not-for-profit group.''
She said the grant would allow Take 3 to be implemented with schools, surf lifesaving clubs and communities.
She hopes Take 3 will become ingrained in people's thinking in the same way saving water and recycling have become the norm.
The idea has gained support from one of the country's most well-known organisations - Clean Up Australia.
''It's a bloody excellent idea,'' said the chairman and founder of Clean Up Australia, Ian Kiernan. ''Often it is the people going for an early morning swim or walk at the beach that pick up the rubbish, [as] they don't want to see that beautiful environment ruined. And if more people started doing that … then that's a great thing.''
The Taronga conservation committee received 209 applications after the grants were announced late last year. A panel including top environmentalists selected the seven finalists.
The ideas included using worm farms across Ballarat and a plan to convert environmentally unsustainable homes into two or three smaller, eco-friendly homes.
For more information on Take 3 visit take3.org.au.