‘It’s like swim­ming in rub­bish’ at Nudie

Waiheke Marketplace - - Front Page - SIMON MAUDE AND DIANA WOR­THY

A Wai­heke Is­land res­i­dent has been sad­dened to find her favourite swim­ming beach awash with plas­tic.

Osher River Oriyah said she went for her reg­u­lar swim at Lit­tle Palm Beach on Tues­day morn­ing when she no­ticed something was dif­fer­ent.

‘‘I was go­ing for a swim and I no­ticed all these bits of plas­tic in the wa­ter. At first I thought they were jel­ly­fish,’’ she said.

‘‘This time in­stead of clear wa­ter, I found my­self swim­ming with lots of mostly small plas­tic scraps. It was like swim­ming in rub­bish.’’

Oriyah, who has lived on Wai­heke for about six months, said she had trav­elled to places like Is­rael and ex­pe­ri­enced se­verely lit­tered beaches in the past. But she hadn’t ex­pected to find the same prob­lem at a New Zealand beach.

Usu­ally she viewed swim­ming in the ocean as a cleans­ing ex­pe­ri­ence.

But af­ter Tues­day’s swim she felt the need to take a shower, she said.

Oriyah wasn’t the only beach lover who no­ticed the lit­ter.

A lo­cal man said he’d ‘‘picked up lots’’ of plas­tic at the same beach on Wed­nes­day. ‘‘There was a dead sea bird and a dead fish.’’

‘‘If you col­lect enough you could build a kayak,’’ an­other res­i­dent said.

Res­i­dents have also re­ported plas­tic and other lit­ter in the sea at the pop­u­lar main Palm Beach, say­ing it of­ten comes in with the tide.

And keen track walker Erica Week, who has lived on the is­land for many years, said the sit­u­a­tion at Park Point was on­go­ing with rub­bish lit­ter­ing the coast­line.

‘‘Ev­ery time I go down there, I pick up a large sack’s worth of trash and plas­tics,’’ she said. ‘‘It’s shock­ing.’’ Mean­while, a group of Wai- heke res­i­dents are eye­ing up straws as a new tar­get for abo­li­tion af­ter the is­land led the way in hav­ing plas­tic bags banned in ma­jor su­per­mar­kets.

Wai­heke Countdown started charg­ing for biodegrad­able plas­tic shop­ping bags in May 2016.

Now a group called New Earth Op­ti­mism, which has mem­bers on the is­land, is push­ing for a ban on plas­tic straws.

One of the mem­bers, Anna Daw­son, has also started a group called Plas­tic Free Pantry.

It of­fers un­pack­aged seeds and nuts at Os­tend mar­ket. See Plas­tic Free Pantry on Face­book.

Osher River Oriyah col­lected hand­fuls of plas­tic from her fa­vorite swim­ming beach. SUP­PLIED

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