No rubbishing Kathy

Holly ThompsonManjimup-Bridgetown Times
Kathy Barrett-Lennard and Don Webster welcome people to join them on their Keep Australia Beautiful roadside clean up outside Pemberton.
Camera IconKathy Barrett-Lennard and Don Webster welcome people to join them on their Keep Australia Beautiful roadside clean up outside Pemberton. Credit: Tari Jeffers

Kathy Barrett-Lennard is one Pemberton resident who enjoys seeing the area she lives in clean and rubbish-free.

Her mission is to help keep the area in a pristine condition by collecting rubbish found along a section of Vasse Highway, which stretches from Pemberton through to the turn-off for South Western Highway.

She said she had been passionate about keeping the environment clean ever since she was a child.

“I grew up in a family where no matter where we were, whether it was a picnic or going for a walk, we would always pick up any rubbish we saw and put it in the bin,” Kathy said.

“It is just great to see an area tidy and free of rubbish, particularly in such a pristine and lovely environment such as the one down here.”

Kathy said the amount of rubbish on the stretch of Vasse Highway she now tries to clean up regularly, used to bother her a lot.

She said the majority of what she saw in the area was take-away coffee cups and drink cans.

“I just thought, ‘well it would be easy enough to stop and pick it up’, so I started to do so,” she said.

“It grew from there really, my husband and I adopted the spot through the Keep Australia Beautiful Council and they send us these orange bags to put the rubbish in, gloves and equipment to pick the rubbish up with.”

Kathy said she had been through about 500 of the orange bags since she first signed up through Keep Australia Beautiful.

“Every now and then when I get a bit low I ring them up and they very kindly send through another box of 100 which keeps us going for a while,” she said.

“I really hope I have prompted some other people to do something similar, it does not have to be such a big stretch, it can even just be the verge outside the front of your house or farm, it all helps.”

She also said she hoped when people saw the roadside was tidy, it would deter them from dumping rubbish in the first place. On top of cleaning the roadside herself, Kathy has also organised group clean-up days for the area.

“I have not organised one since last summer but I could do another one any time, it is just a matter of calling round and organising it,” Kathy said.

“Sometimes when people see me they will ask if I can let them know when the next group clean-up will be so they can help out too which is just fantastic.”

Kathy also encouraged people to register with Keep Australia Beautiful so they could report people they saw polluting the area.

“There is quite a hefty fine for littering and the council will issue it out to the person, as long as you catch their number plate and can tell the council the location and time it occurred,” she said.

This year, Kathy was nominated for the Shire of Manjimup’s Citizen of the Year awards thanks to her work in the community.

“I like to get involved with local organisations and efforts,” she said.

“I am most involved with the Pemberton Accommodation Association outside of my work with Keep Australia Beautiful and I am very grateful to have been recognised for this work, although I would never expect or ask for such recognition.”

Kathy also does work with the Red Cross, Cancer Council WA and the Heart Foundation and said she loved to give practical support to organisations which needed it.

Looking to the future, Kathy said she would continue to volunteer with Keep Australia Beautiful and said the next step was working out how to stop people littering.

“Most people are very conscious of taking their rubbish with them but there are some people out there who are not, which is hard for me to understand,” she said.

“I think it starts with education for young children, teaching them to appreciate the environment and to want to help maintain it.”

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