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Getting the litter off our beaches

About 150 Gisborne community members participated in a nationwide litter project over the weekend and in the process removed 850 litres of rubbish from Waikanae Beach.

The national litter project run in conjunction with Sustainable Coastlines, Plastic Bag-Free Tairawhiti and Eastland Port was also the final event as part of Plastic-Free July for the city.

Plastic Bag-Free Tairawhiti representative Nicky Solomon said working together on a meaningful project like this was good for the community.

“We are really thrilled to be part of the Sustainable Coastlines litter project, which will help inform decision-makers about the extent of the plastic pollution issue.

“The environmental impact of plastic is receiving the attention it deserves right now, so we’re delighted to work with Sustainable Coastlines on this initiative,” she said.

An unexpected discovery, but undoubtedly the most welcome find during the beach clean-up, was a duckling found alone by the waterline.

The duckling was carefully rescued and escorted to a safer location.

The national litter project is led by charity Sustainable Coastlines and plans to roll out a litter education curriculum for schools, establish a national litter database alongside Ministry for the Environment, Department of Conservation and Statistics New Zealand, and bring these programmes to communities around New Zealand.

The charity will train ‘‘Citizen Scientists’’ across the country to collect data from their local beach, using a United Nations environment programme methodology.

Educators nationwide will be trained to deliver a new curriculum-aligned behaviour change programme that aims to curb single-plastic consumption and reduce litter.

“We have an amazing community and this project is a very special thing to be a part of,” said Dr Solomon.

“We were extremely touched and overwhelmed by the turnout. I want to thank everyone who came along, as well as the team from Sustainable Coastlines and Eastland Port for making this collaboration possible.”

The next beach clean-up is on August 26 at Kaiti Beach.

For more details, contact Tairawhiti Environment Centre on 867 4708.


Beach rubbish removed and one duckling rescued . . . Plastic Bag-Free Tairawhiti teamed up with Sustainable Coastlines to clean up Waikanae Beach at the weekend. Pictured with some of the 850 litres of trash are Glenda Smith, Nicky Solomon, Kya Solomon, Camden Howitt, Sarah Hearfield, Diane Taylor, Oliver Vetter and Sandy Britain. Picture supplied
Citizen scientists in action: Sustainable Coastlines’ Oliver Vetter with volunteers collate rubbish data. Pictures by Cinema East
Volunteers collected more than 850 litres of rubbish from the town beaches at the weekend. Working with Sustainable Coastlines, Plastic Bag-Free Tairawhiti and community participants contributed to the national litter project, a database designed to track accumulations of rubbish around New Zealand coastlines