Introduction

With the Rena incident still fresh in our minds this Seaweek in the Eastern Bay of Plenty encourages our communities to protect our marine environment by reducing the amount of general rubbish in our waterways impacting on our sea and birdlife.

Date:  02 March 2012

With the Rena incident still fresh in our minds this Seaweek (3-11 March) in the Eastern Bay of Plenty encourages our communities to protect our marine environment by reducing the amount of general rubbish in our waterways impacting on our sea and birdlife.

The volunteer effort during the Rena clean up and the ‘adopt a beach’ monitoring programmes is nothing short of amazing and highlights just how important our sea is to our communities says Seaweek Regional Co-ordinator, Trudi Ngawhare. 

During regular monitoring at Whakaari, Rurima, Moutoki and Moutohora Islands, Department of Conservation (DOC) Rangers collected debris and general flotsam. The Rena impacts have diminished significantly little oiled debris has been collected.

DOC Ranger, Pete Livingstone says “separate to the Rena, the level of general rubbish such as  plastic containers and more worrying rope, monofilament products, types of foam and insulation continues to be collected from the Eastern Bay Islands and isolated sections of coastal beach.”

 “The Rena had a devastating effect on our marine environment, but of equal concern is the large amount of general rubbish that is continually in our waterways and is easily fixed if each of us plays our part.” 

“In New Zealand every year, seals, penguins, fish, dolphins, whales, albatrosses and other birds mistakenly swallow rubbish thinking it’s food, then choke or become entangled in rope and plastic and drown” says Mr Livingstone.

Albatross affected by pollution marine environment
Albatross affected by pollution in the
marine environment

Public, volunteer organisations and local businesses are being proactive with regular coastal rubbish collection in both urban and rural localities, particularly up the East Coast. There has been good support and liaison from Bay of Plenty Regional Council, Whakatane District Council and Opotiki District Council.

“Our children are also sending a clear message that they are concerned about the pollution in the waterways telling us to “clean up our act”, expressed through poetry and pictures in the Seaweek Kids competition” says Ms Ngawhare.

A beach clean-up is planned as part of the Under 14 Surf Competition at West end Ohope Beach on Sunday 11th March 9am.

Other events include Seaweek at Ohiwa on Monday 5th March 9.30-12.30 pm at Port Ohope Boat Ramp.

“We each connect to the sea in so many different ways. Seaweek is time to reflect on things we can do individually to protect what we enjoy” says Ms Ngawhare.

Contact

Trudi Ngawhare, Ph: +64 6 8690487

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