I took part in the community cleanup of the plastic baleage in the upper Tukituki River along with DOC, local farmers, Forest & Bird, Fish & Game and community members, both urban and rural.
This pollution occurred because a land-user's dump had been sited close to the river in the event of a flood or change to river levels.
I was surprised to learn there are no rules or monitoring around where these dumps are sited and what can be placed in rural rubbish dumps on private land (apart from toxic chemicals where there's no monitoring for compliance.)
I'm sure there are plenty in our community (town and country) who don't really need rules for what should be commonsense but there are those who do and it has cost $7000 of ratepayers money already on this one cleanup.
Plastic baleage is already being taken away from many farms these days and siting dumps away from potential pollution areas should be a mandatory part of any future farm plans with remedial action taken to reduce hazardous siting or materials in dumps already existing.
These dumps and our landfills could become much smaller and manageable if there was strong commitment in both rural and town communities to waste minimisation or recycling and a committed move by manufacturers to produce products out of biodegradable materials.
My belief is none of us “own” this planet through our deed of title or lease of land but we are the stewards or kaitiaki of it as a future as well as a present resource. Sharleen Baird