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Making our Waterways Healthy

Making our Waterways Healthy: Now’s the Time for New Zealanders to Work Together

The 2016 campylobacter outbreak, which affected a thousand people and was linked to at least four deaths, was a shocking reminder of how vulnerable our water is, and why nation-wide action is vital says the Public Health Association.

PHA Chief Executive Warren Lindberg says that the association supports the Choose Clean Water Freshwater Rescue Plan to address New Zealand’s freshwater problems, launched in Wellington yesterday. The plan tackles the underlying causes of water contamination in a well-thought out and integrated way.

“Water is a major public health issue,’ says Mr Lindberg. “Not only are safe water supplies and good water management fundamental to public health, as shown in last year’s Hawkes Bay campylobacter outbreak, but water is important for recreation and people’s wellbeing as a whole. It is not enough to monitor the state of our water, we must act to stop the pollution in the first place.”

“In te ao Māori, ‘waiora’ is a taonga which nourishes people and provides good health, and it must be nurtured and cherished. “

“As Sir Peter Gluckman the PM’s Chief Science Advisor pointed out last week, humans are part of the whole freshwater ecosystem, and our actions affect the system that we depend on for our drinking water, for sanitation and for growing our food.

“We agree with the other collaborating organisations that the Choose Clean Water Freshwater Rescue Plan is a timely opportunity to tackle problems in a realistic way, and to draw on the energy of New Zealanders who we know place high value on the integrity of our waterways.


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