Prac­tice poi­sons har­bour

Kapi-Mana News - - FRONT PAGE - By AN­DREA O’NEIL

Hun­dreds of tyres are con­tam­i­nat­ing Porirua Har­bour with poverty, lazi­ness and for­merly un­fenced tyre yards to blame.

Since Oc­to­ber, vol­un­teers have re­moved 200 tyres from the mouth of Porirua Stream and there are at least 200 more still in there, said Porirua Har­bour Trust chair­man Grant Baker.

That is on top of 500 tyres dug out of the har­bour five years ago by Porirua City Coun­cil and there may be more yet to be dis­cov­ered. Jet- skiers have told Mr Baker they of­ten stand on tyres af­ter fall­ing into the water.

Heavy met­als in sub­merged tyres leach into the sea floor, killing plants and an­i­mals, he said.

‘‘They can end up ba­si­cally rob­bing the sea floor of any good­ness and then kill it.’’

The trust plans to plant the estuary with sea grass but needs to clear the rub­bish or the plants will just die, he said. Sea grass helps re­store nu­tri­ents to the sea floor, en­cour­ag­ing the re­turn of aquatic life.

Porirua is one of the coun­try’s main breed­ing har­bours for fish­ing species, which the tyres are putting at risk, Mr Baker said.

Some tyres were washed from un­fenced Kenepuru tyre yards back­ing on to the stream dur­ing floods six years ago. Since then the yards have been fenced.

But many tyres have been dumped more re­cently, ei­ther from the mo­tor­way ramp at Paru­moana St or fur­ther up­stream, he said.

Porirua Stream starts at the top of the Ngau­ranga Gorge and passes through John­sonville, Chur­ton Park and Tawa.

Some peo­ple will be dump­ing the tyres out of lazi­ness or ig­no­rance and many will be try­ing to avoid the $4.50 it costs to dump a tyre at the land­fill, he said.

Porirua City Coun­cil har­bour strat­egy co-or­di­na­tor Keith Calder agreed. Most tyre com­pa­nies charge a manda­tory fee to dis­pose of tyres but some peo­ple change their tyres them­selves and can’t af­ford to dump them. At­ti­tudes need to change, he said.

‘‘ It’s re­flect­ing how we feel about the har­bour, be­cause it doesn’t look very nice.’’

The coun­cil and trust plan to work with groups and schools to spread the mes­sage about lit­ter in the har­bour, he said.

‘‘The chal­lenge is how do you get th­ese key mes­sages out and pro­vide peo­ple with a real in­cen­tive, whether morally or eth­i­cally, to ac­tu­ally clean up their act? We need the com­mu­nity’s help.’’

Tyre-some: Vol­un­teers with some of the 200 tyres cleared from Porirua Har­bour since Oc­to­ber. Many tyres are dumped be­cause peo­ple can’t be both­ered tak­ing them to the land­fill, or can’t af­ford to.

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