City trash chokes sea life
It’s a dirty job but somebody has to do it.
A team from Auckland-based Sustainable Coastlines hit Quay St on Monday to remove floating rubbish from the waterfront street’s drains in another bid to make people think twice before littering.
As the country celebrates the sea during this week’s Seaweek, the charity is reminding residents the trash below our city’s streets can end up on our beaches and get trapped on islands in the Hauraki Gulf.
Almost 2000 pieces of rubbish were removed from half of Queen St’s drains in a project carried out by Sustainable Coastlines last year to assess the extent and types of rubbish in stormwater drains.
The biggest offenders were 590 cigarette butts, 475 food wrappers and containers, 285 cigarette packets, 208 pieces of polystyrene and 91 caps and lids.
Last month’s cleanup of Rangitoto Island netted almost 1500 individual items of rubbish.
Project manager Camden Howitt says once trash gets into the coastal and marine environment it can have devas- tating effects on wildlife.
‘‘The bottle caps, cigarette lighters, drinking straws and all other manner of disposable plastic products that we drop on our streets can very quickly end up out at sea and on our beaches,’’ Mr Howitt says.
Trash trail: Sustainable Coastlines Pacific project liaison Anna Mathieson, left, and event manager Mitzi Borren get their hands dirty to remove rubbish from the stormwater drains along Auckland CBD’s Quay St.
Quay clean-up: Sustainable Coastlines project manager Camden Howitt, right, lends a hand to the clean-up effort.