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Cultural Impacts

Waste pollution has the potential to impact the cultural values of First Nations people and all Queenslanders.

For First Nations people, waste pollution can damage and harm the heritage values that embody their ancient culture. These may include totem species, stories and sites of significance that can be impacted by waste pollution.

For all Queenslanders, pride in the state’s pristine landscapes, from our deserts to our beaches, is part of our culture. Waste pollution attacks our sense of cultural wellbeing.

Cultural impacts

Quick facts

Traditionally, waste was managed sustainably
by First Nations People—the remains of food were placed in areas called middens where the waste could dry out and break down.

Pollution and introduced species are major threats to the cultural values of all people including First Nations people and their connection to the land. Both these threats can result from waste pollution.

A recent clean-up event in Cape York collected seven tonnes of marine debris, including more than 200,000 individual items from 17 kilometres of coastline at Cape Bedford, Captain Billy’s Landing, Mapoon and Chilli Beach. Plastic was the most common material collected. The event was conducted by volunteers of Tangaroa blue, in collaboration with Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service rangers, Apudthama Land and Sea Rangers of Northern Peninsula Area Regional Council, Kuuku Ya’u Land Trust Rangers, Mapoon Land and Sea Rangers, Hopevale Congress Rangers, Cook Shire, Sea Swift and Hawkins Transport. The event was supported through the Queensland Government’s Community Sustainability Action Grants and the Federal Government’s Improving Your Local Parks and Environment Grants.

Last updated: 10 May 2021

This page should be cited as:

Department of Environment and Science, Queensland (2021) Cultural Impacts, WetlandInfo website, accessed 13 April 2023. Available at:

Queensland Government
WetlandInfo   —   Department of Environment and Science