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National park waste concerns issues to be aired

Media release – February 3, 2005

National park waste concerns issues to be aired at international zero waste conference at Kaikoura in April

The issue of escalating waste on Aoraki / Mt Cook National Park will be a major topic for discussion at the international zero waste conference in Kaikoura in April.

Waste on the mountains has become a major issue as more climbers take to the sport.

Rodney Garrard of Victoria University will talk about the national park concerns at the conference, from April 5 to 8.

``Waste facilities to deal with increased climber activity are lagging behind,’’ he says.

Garrard will tell the conference about the move towards zero waste in the national park.

``There are health, aesthetic and environmental problems associated with the disposal of human waste on alpine climbing routes and the solution to waste removal on mountaineering routes is not a simple one.’’

Some of New Zealand’s major institutions will have delegates at the meeting to discuss their journey down the path to zero waste.

One of the guest speakers, Canterbury University’s Ian Mason, said a recent survey of 1400 university students and staff showed a strong support for extension of the recycling scheme on campus.

Rex Verity, of Christchurch Polytechnic (CPIT), said the polytech was committed to a 75 percent reduction in solid waste to landfill by 2009 and zero waste by 2015, with a goal of 30 percent reduction to be achieved by the end of 2005.

``Our Madras Street campus generated 1.24 tonne of waste destined for landfill, on one average day in June 2004. Eight-two percent of this was food waste or readily recyclable material,’’ Verity said.

The polytech is looking at separating and collecting food wastes, providing desk-top trays for paper re-use and recycling and placing of two hundred recycling bins.

Zero Waste New Zealand chief executive Jo Knight says New Zealand has failed to deliver on reducing waste goals.

Knight, another guest speaker, said local government must commit more funding to help reduce waste and increase recycling. She said every New Zealander dumps about one tonne of rubbish every year.

``Our aim at the Kaikoura conference is to encourage a declaration encouraging the South Island to band together to be the first zero waste island in the world.’’

The conference will also host the first national zero waste awards.

Zero waste policies helped Kaikoura become the first town in the world to gain full Green Globe status last October.

Green Globe is the world’s only global tourism certification. Kaikoura adopted zero waste policies and reduced carbon dioxide emissions.

Top overseas and New Zealand experts at the April conference will be seeking solutions to ending rubbish.

More than 150 delegates from Australia, South Africa, Wales, Botswana, England, Scotland, Canada, the US and New Zealand will hear the latest developments in zero waste and progress being made across New Zealand and overseas.

Ends

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