Navy clean up rubbish
‘‘The environment is really important to us and we need to sustain it ... We need to change our attitudes.’’
Car parts, refrigerators, ovens, ‘‘anything you can think of, it’s here’’, Hayden Smith said.
Smith, founder of volunteer marine restoration group Sea Cleaners, was helping pick up rubbish in Otara’s Upper Tamaki Strait on Sunday.
The group teamed up with the Royal New Zealand Navy (RNZN) who provided 115 junior officers and sailors for some extra muscle power.
Auckland Mayor Phil Goff was also lending a helping hand.
It’s the second year the RNZN has taken part in the initiative which is part of its humanitarian aid training.
The operation collected around 50,000 litres of rubbish. Local schools will continue to take on a guardianship role of the waterways to keep them clean.
Smith, who recently won Kiwibank’s New Zealand Local Hero Award, said cleaning up estuaries and coastlines was about creating harbours for the future.
‘‘Our goal since 2002 has been to clean up Auckland’s waterways, but also provide a public information and education programme that will hopefully prevent future generations from littering and dumping rubbish,’’ he said.
Sea Cleaners co-founder Ben Harris said the dumping of car tyres and shopping trolleys is becoming more of a problem.
A recent clean-up in the Pahurehure Inlet collected more than 1000 tyres, he said.
Phil Goff said there was excuse’’ for dumping rubbish. ’’no
‘‘The environment is really important to us and we need to sustain it ... We need to change our attitudes,’’ he said.
RNZN Warrant Officer Kramer Pierce said being part of the project really resonates with Navy personnel.
’’We were involved with Sea Cleaners last year as part of the Navy’s 75th celebrations and while it was hard work it was also incredibly rewarding for our officers and sailors.
‘‘Not just because of the amount of junk and rubbish we cleaned up that wasn’t going any further into the gulf, but because it proved to be an excellent bonding experience,’’ he said.
Sea Cleaners has removed over 4.5 million litres of plastic rubbish and debris from New Zealand’s seas, oceans and waterways since work began, which equates to 150 shipping containers filled with loose litter, or 35 million individual pieces of rubbish.
Sea Cleaners teamed up with the Navy to pick up rubbish from the Upper Tamaki Strait in Otara.