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Pollution blitz cleans up

Pollution blitz cleans up
April 26, 2004

The second pollution prevention audit of North Shore City businesses has been successfully completed.

Officers from North Shore City and Auckland Regional Councils arrived unannounced at 80 businesses in Ashfield St, Glenfield over the past month in a staged 'blitz' programme to stop pollution, raise environmental awareness and promote the use of resources more efficiently in their activities.

North Shore City works and environment committee chairperson, Joel Cayford, says this particular road was chosen for its history of pollution incidents.

"Around one in every 10 businesses we visited were found to have pollution problems that needed revisiting while a quarter had one or more potential pollution problems identified.

"Generally, we gave Ashfield St a clean bill of health.

"It's pleasing to see North Shore businesses becoming more aware of the impact their activities have on the environment," Councillor Cayford says.

The majority of the businesses were good, or only had small problems such as oil drums not being stored appropriately, small spills that needed cleaning, or run-off from car and equipment washing going into the stormwater system.

Joel Cayford says the primary focus was on preventing pollution entering the environment through the stormwater system.

"We aimed to work with the businesses to dispose of waste appropriately and prevent spills running into the stormwater system. The audits had a strong emphasis on helping businesses understand the impact their activities can have on the environment," he says.

Those found causing water pollution face imprisonment for up to two years or a maximum fine of $200,000.

One of North Shore City's pollution prevention officers, Rowan Carter, says the response from businesses during the latest blitz was very positive.

"They were very welcoming and keen to resolve any pollution issues identified by the blitz team," he says.

Council staff are continuing to work with a few businesses to help them either become compliant with environmental legislation or use resources more efficiently in their activities.

"Recent revisits to businesses with pollution problems revealed that nearly all had been corrected," Mr Carter says.

The first pollution audit in 2001 saw more than 100 commercial and light industrial businesses visited in Birkenhead. During the blitz, four pollution problems were resolved, seven potential pollution incidents were avoided and three contaminated sites were found and fixed.

Rowan Carter warns more pollution audits are planned and North Shore City businesses can expect more unannounced visits.

"Eventually I would like to see an increasing number of businesses become more environmentally responsible," he says.

The Auckland Regional Council (ARC) has a comprehensive information folder called the Environmental Operations Plan, which provides businesses with a simple series of checklists enabling them to audit their own business practices which affect the environment.

North Shore City business owners with questions about pollution prevention or the Environmental Operations Plan can contact either Rowan Carter on 486 8600 or a pollution officer from the ARC on 377 3107.


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