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Zoo doo while others don't

Zoo doo while others don't

Green Media Release

The Green Party today praised Auckland Zoo and its hippos for "fast movement" in helping clean up the highly-polluted Motions Creek.

Last Thursday, Green Co-leader Dr Norman said an Environment Ministry "Green Ribbon" commendation for Auckland Zoo was a "bit of a joke" considering the zoo's bad record for hippo excreta discharges into an on-site stream.

"This small waterway empties into Waitemata Harbour near Cox's Bay which is used regularly by boaties such as the Hawkes Sea Scouts who have their boatshed base there," he said.

But today Auckland Zoo Director Jonathan Wilcken was quoted as saying the zoo would commit $150,000 in the next few months to upgrade water treatment from hippopotamus cages into the creek.

"While we've been getting little from other polluters but noises and hot air, the zoo is acting," Dr Norman said.

"This is a good example for others. According to information Green Party researchers have obtained from the Auckland Regional Council, the zoo is just one of many polluters. Motions Creek is subject to contamination from human sewage, urban runoff, occasional industrial waste, plus drainage - which includes heavy metals - from the north-western motorway and local roads. Local authorities are now saying the right things about cleaning up the creek, but it comes after about a century of dithering while the pollution keeps flowing in, especially after heavy rain."

Dr Norman said it was about time pollution side-effects of motorways were taken into account when comparing the costs and benefits of new public transport systems with motorways.

"Motions Creek may take millions of dollars to totally clean up, not just $150,000. In Victorian times the attitude was big industrial projects like roads and factories should go ahead and to hell with the long term social and environmental costs. Those days are long gone."


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