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Quicker Action Needed To Clean Up Dairy Streams

May 3, 2002
Greater urgency needs to be given to cleaning up dairy streams, says Forest and Bird.

The Society noted that finally Fonterra, the Ministry for the Environment (MfE), Ministry of Agriculture (MAF) and Environment Waikato launched proposals for an action plan yesterday, to be completed by the end of the year.

“Cows pollute streams, when the streams are not fenced”, says Eric Pyle, Forest and Bird’s Conservation Manager. “Cows pollute the water with faeces and urine, erode banks and put silt and excessive nutrients in the water and destroy native fish habitats. Cows spread pathogenic bacteria and protozoans such as giardia and cryptosporidium”.

“The issues are not new nor are the solutions – fencing streams. Given these issues have been so well canvassed in the past, it should be a quick, easy job to develop an action plan. It should take weeks to develop the plan, not months” said Mr Pyle.

The fact that Fonterra, Environment Waikato, MFE and MAF see a need for an action plan is a recognition that regional councils have not grappled effectively with the impacts of dairying on steams” said Mr Pyle. “At least the industry now accepts there is a problem. Some sectors of dairy industry of the industry have previously been in denial”.

“Forest and Bird acknowledges that some farmers are fencing their streams and cleaning up their waterways. They set an example for the rest of the dairy industry to follow”, he said.

“The dairy industry must show stronger commitment to addressing an issue that ranks amongst the top environmental concerns for New Zealanders and is an issue for consumers overseas”, says Mr Pyle. “This action plan proposal is a plod – not a step – in the right direction. Action on the ground, not just words, is what is needed”.

For more information on the impact of stock access to streams, please see: Http://www.forest-bird.org.nz/magazines/02Feb/saving_streams.asp

Ends

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