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Irish Academic: NZ still clean and green

NZ still clean and green, in the face of diluting shards of waste production - says Irish academic

New Zealand is still holding it clean, green image in the face of diluting shardes of waste production, a visiting Irish academic Dr Anna Davies said today.

Speaking at the international zero waste conference in Kaikoura, Dr Davies said NZ's `green' colours might even be brightening with increased levels of houseold recycling, new developments in packaging regulations and an increasing number of councils adopting the rhetoric of zero waste.

Dr Davies, a lecturer in environmental geography at Trinity College University in Dublin, said New Zealand is certainly ahead of other countries, including Ireland, in the zero waste stakes.

``New Zealand is more actively committed to it through community-based initiatives. What is most impressive from an Irish perspective, is the community sector's advances, with the zero waste showcasing the best and the brightest stars of zero waste.

``So that's a thumbs up for the community champions of waste, but what about your average New Zealander ?

``I ha've met a range of New Zealanders here and by and large they are a positive bunch. I get a sense in which it is OK to be seen to support green, which is not so prevelant as you might think elsewhere, including perhaps surprisingly Ireland.

``So the clean, green image is alive and...well green, but to prevent it being a mirage more needs to be done by the tourist sector to increase the visibility of tourist impacts on the environment.''

Dr Davies said people come to NZ because of the landscape and she said she was sure they were willing to help protect it.

A trees for travellers project in Kaikoura was the best example of the kinds of actions required, she said.

Kaikoura sells local native trees to visitors or tourists to help make up for the extra emissions brought into the area by cars and buses. The trees are planted near the town with a GPS and live internet viewing for when the tourist returns home.

Dr Davies said there was a case for more national co-ordination in New Zealand, not least in the area of levies for plastic bags and landfill.

Overseas and national zero waste experts end their conference in Kaikoura today.

Every New Zealander dumps about one tonne of rubbish every year and more than 130 delegates from Australia, South Africa, Wales, Botswana, England, Scotland, Canada, the US and New Zealand haved heard this week the latest developments in zero waste and progress being made across New Zealand and overseas.


Eds note: Dr Davies is studying at Auckland University for several months as part of her sabbitical from Trinity College.

Copyright 2005 Word Of Mouth Media NZ

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