Tak­ing a dip to clean up the ocean

Central Leader - - OUT & ABOUT - CA­TRIN OWEN

Our lit­tle coun­try is known for its beau­ti­ful beaches and coast­line, how­ever our marine life is at risk with lit­ter dumped in our wa­ters.

On Septem­ber 7, divers braved the chilly wa­ters of the Waitem­ata Har­bour to clean up rub­bish off the ocean floor.

Kelly Tarl­ton’s divers sub­merged at Okahu Bay and hauled a de­cent catch of plas­tic, house­hold junk, fish­ing line and even a push scooter onto the jetty.

‘‘It re­ally is an eye-opener to the amount of rub­bish in our lo­cal coast­lines and wa­ter­ways, imag­ine what this is do­ing to our marine life,’’ diver Jo Wool­cott says.

The ocean dive was part of Con­ser­va­tion Week which aims to raise aware­ness about why it’s im­por­tant to keep New Zealand’s coast­lines clean.

Kelly Tarl­ton’s cu­ra­tor AJ Christie says marine de­bris can have dis­as­trous ef­fects on marine life.

‘‘This year alone, five tur­tles have washed up on New Zealand beaches in­jured or sick,’’ he says.

‘‘In many cases the tur­tle has in­gested plas­tic - some­thing that could be pre­vented.’’

Waste is adding pres­sure to the marine en­vi­ron­ment, with large amounts of pol­lu­tion car­ried along wa­ter­ways and then washed out to sea.

On Septem­ber 17, there will be a beach clean up day at Okahu Bay from 10am till 12pm.

FAIRFAX NZ

Josh Fretwell with some of the items they found when div­ing for rub­bish.

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