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Auckland City continues support of harbour cleanup

4 February 2005

Auckland City continues support of harbour cleanup

Rubbish pulled from the Waitemata Harbour seems to be coming from land-based activities, rather than from the boating fraternity.

The contractor for the Waitemata Harbour Cleanup Trust believes that rubbish entering the harbour is blown by the wind from the motorway and industrial properties.

Councillor Neil Abel, chairperson of Auckland City’s Works and Services Committee, is voicing concern over the amount of rubbish the trust is collecting from the harbour.

“Since the trust began operating in 2002, over 128,895 litres of rubbish have been collected from the Waitemata within Auckland City. That’s equivalent to 1,074 green wheelie bins,” he said.

“Over time, we would expect to see a decrease after cleaning up waste that has been in the water for some time. Unfortunately, that is not the case. The contractor has reported that each time he visits an area he is picking up new rubbish.”

Mr Abel said that because of the harbour environment, people would assume the rubbish came from the boating fraternity, but that did not seem to be the case.

“It is a real concern that our beautiful harbour continues to be polluted. Birds or marine animals may mistake rubbish for food. Items like plastic bags can trap animals and eventually kill them,” he said.

Auckland City contributes $30,000 a year to the trust’s $540,000 three-year operational budget. This funding is due to expire on 30 June, the end of the current financial year.

At its meeting on Thursday, Auckland City’s Works and Services Committee agreed that a bid for funding for the trust for the 2005 to 2006 financial year be included in the current budget round.

The trust was established in September 2002 with the objectives of: cleaning up the Waitemata Harbour raising public awareness that harbour litter is a problem preventing people from littering on the harbour encouraging harbour users to keep it clean and beautiful.

In its two and a half years of operation, the trust’s boat, the Phil Warren, has been used to collect over 273,919 litres of rubbish from the entire harbour, including the area within Auckland city.

Dick Hubbard, Mayor of Auckland City, currently represents the council on the trust, which also has members from Auckland Regional Council, North Shore and Waitakere city councils, Watercare Services and Ports of Auckland.

ENDS

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