Christmas Revelers Leave 16 Tons of Trash on Australian Beach

© David Gray/Reuters Bondi Beach in Sydney, Australia, on Christmas Day, where alcohol had already been prohibited. A raucous party down the shore at Coogee Beach has led to a total ban there, too, for the rest of the summer.
SYDNEY, Australia — Christmas and New Year in Australia typically involve barbecues, beaches and beer.

But a Christmas Day celebration that drew more than 10,000 people has led to a suspension of that tradition on Coogee Beach in the Sydney suburb of Randwick, where officials estimate that revelers left behind more than 16 tons of garbage. The City Council banned alcohol on the beach for the rest of the Australian summer.

“I’m a local, and in all my time here I’ve never seen anything like it,” Tony Waller, president of the Coogee Surf Life Saving Club, told Channel 7, adding that the club used four oxygen cylinders and 15 resuscitation masks to treat drunken partygoers.

“By late evening, it got so bad that we let the shark alarm off three times to try to get the swimmers out of the water, we had such grave concerns for them,” Mr. Waller said. “They were all intoxicated.”

Three people were arrested over “antisocial behavior,” according to the police.

There has long been tension between the residents who live near Sydney’s beaches and the tourists, many of them foreign, who hold all-day and all-night parties fueled by alcohol and drugs and leave behind piles of trash that greet early morning joggers and swimmers.

“I’ve seen sex on Bondi Beach on Christmas afternoon,” Mark Cotter, president of the North Bondi Surf Life Saving Club, said in an interview, referring to a beach north of Coogee. “People are often off their heads, drunk and sunburned.”

At Bondi Beach, the local council has also banned alcohol consumption. But many residents say that beer, along with cannabis and other drugs, is openly consumed on a grassy area where turntables and D.J.s entertain crowds.

“The grassy knoll at north Bondi is the place to be seen on Saturdays and Sundays as it attracts buff bodies and bikinis,” Zak Mann, a 20-year Bondi resident, said in an interview. “It’s cheaper to drink on the street than in the swanky, upmarket bars.”

The police and rangers employed by local councils have the authority to confiscate unopened alcohol and pour out alcohol being consumed on Bondi Beach, said Tony Kay, who oversees the council for Waverley, a Sydney suburb. The police in Sydney often simply warn those found in possession of up to 15 grams of cannabis leaf, enough for 15 to 25 joints.

The City Council in Randwick said that it had previously restricted alcohol consumption at Coogee Beach and its surrounding parks during certain hours of the day in an effort to stop bad behavior.

“However, the poor and inappropriate behavior of a few on Christmas Day have forced the council to introduce a total alcohol ban for the area for summer,” it said. “The public outrage to the devastation of the parks and beach itself on Christmas Day has been quite phenomenal.”

Sydney's Coogee beach devastated by garbage after 'backpacker' Christmas party

A total alcohol ban will be enforced at Sydney’s Coogee beach until the end of the summer after Christmas Day revellers left a reported 15 tonnes of garbage behind. Photograph: @ec_services/Twitter
Alcohol ban to be put in place after estimated 10,000 revellers leave beach strewn with 15 tonnes of garbage.

A Sydney council has enforced a summer-long alcohol ban on one of the city’s most popular beaches as a result of “the poor and inappropriate behaviour of a few” on Christmas Day.

Coogee beach – a popular destination for backpackers, including many from the UK, on Christmas Day – was left strewn with a reported 15 tonnes of garbage by an estimated 10,000 revellers.

Randwick city council announced the total alcohol ban for Coogee beach and all nearby parks and reserves on Tuesday after consulting with New South Wales police. It will take effect on Thursday and last into the new year, until the end of the summer.

Noel D’Souza, the mayor of Randwick, said in a statement that there had been “phenomenal” public outrage to the “devastation” of the Coogee area.

“The poor and inappropriate behaviour of a few on Christmas Day have forced council to introduce a total alcohol ban for the area for summer,” he said. “The clear message we’ve received is that we need to give the beach and nearby parks back to all people to enjoy peacefully and safely.

“It is disappointing we have to take such a strong stance but we need to reassure the community that they can feel safe when visiting and enjoying the jewel in the crown of Randwick city, Coogee beach.”

Alison Garratt, a Coogee local, had posted on Randwick city council’s Facebook page on Monday to complain about the ongoing issue of backpackers “taking over and destroying our environment”.

“Locals cannot enjoy the beach, can’t take our kids for a walk without dodging drunks. It’s become unpleasant, dirty and dangerous. Please support the locals and stop this happening on our beautiful beach.”

The council attributed the chaos to “visitors to the area”, with many on social media blaming backpackers.

Charlie Gregory, who states his home town on Facebook is Burnham-on-Crouch in Essex, posted a video showing revellers – many wearing Santa hats – packed into the waterside Goldstein reserve.

The Christmas Day party quickly escalated on Sunday afternoon, with lifeguards and council workers unable to enforce even the existing ban on alcohol consumption outside of midday to 4pm, imposed earlier in December.

Many other beaches in Sydney, including Bondi, have already instituted alcohol bans, which may have contributed to the number of people travelling to Coogee beach for the day, along with the sunny 29C weather.

The Daily Telegraph reported that lifeguards left the area at about 7.30pm on Sunday due to concerns for their safety. NSW police said three people were arrested for antisocial behaviour but that they were “generally pleased with the behaviour”.

Despite the alcohol ban, Coogee beach is expected to be a draw a large crowd for New Year’s Eve festivities, with Randwick council hosting its annual fireworks event.

Australia's Coogee beach bans alcohol after Christmas party

Alcohol will be banned at a popular Sydney beach all summer after a Christmas party resulted in a build-up of 15 tonnes (15,000kg) of rubbish.

More than 10,000 people flocked to Coogee beach on Christmas day, leaving bottles, cigarette boxes and general waste behind.

The ban has been enforced by Randwick City Council, which called the event "disgraceful".

"The poor and inappropriate behaviour of a few on Christmas Day have forced [the] Council to introduce a total alcohol ban for the area," said Mayor of Randwick Noel D'Souza in a statement on Facebook.

"It is disappointing we have to take such a strong stance but we need to reassure the community that they can feel safe when visiting."

While some argued against the ban, the majority of those on social media seemed to agree with the council's actions.
"Normally I would not want this ban but there is no choice," said George Jessup on Facebook. " I am willing to forgo a glass of wine for the sake of reclaiming our parks and the beach."

"I agree with this. I don't want to take my kids down there as we don't feel safe. About time," another man, Tony Goh, commented.

The ban will become effective from 29 December until the end of summer in Australia.

The summer season in Australia usually takes place from December to February.

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