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Polluters 'prepare to be blitzed' say councils

Polluters 'prepare to be blitzed' say councils

October 30, 2006

Pollution prevention officers from North Shore City Council and Auckland Regional Council (ARC) are planning a pollution prevention blitz at unspecified locations in North Shore City within the next month.

Officers will arrive unannounced at hundreds of commercial and industrial premises in a staged 'blitz programme' to stop pollution and to identify other potential problem areas before they cause harm to the environment.

Blitz areas are chosen based on the sensitivity of the receiving environment, the types of businesses operating in the catchment, and the amount of reported pollution incidents in the vicinity.

Those found causing water pollution and who are unwilling to clean up their act, could face instant fines of $1000. More serious offences can result in prosecution and a maximum fine of $200,000.

"All businesses should be prepared to deal with spills and leaks from their everyday activities to prevent degrading our treasured North Shore City streams and beaches," says North Shore City's pollution prevention co-ordinator, Natalie Managh.

"Problems that are commonly found include vehicle and equipment washwater, poor chemical storage and spills of fuel, waste oil and radiator fluid.

"The primary focus is to prevent pollution entering the environment through our stormwater system, bearing in mind at all times that our outside drains only drain rain," says Ms Managh.

North Shore City's infrastructure and environment committee chairman, Tony Barker, says all businesses should be on red alert even if they have been targeted in the past.

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"The blitz programme could strike anywhere and businesses targeted previously shouldn't be complacent as our pollution prevention officers may choose to revisit some sites to check whether environmental practices are still up to standard," says Councillor Barker.

"It's a worthy initiative and isn't just about catching out the culprits. We want to help businesses identify problem areas and put work practices in place to reduce both the risk to local waterways and to the company," he says.

The councils blitz programme is guided by the Resource Management Act, which states that, 'everyone has a duty to avoid, remedy or mitigate any adverse effect on the environment arising from an activity carried out by or on behalf of that person.' This law applies to everyone from senior management to employees and property owners to ensure that we all take care not to pollute the environment when carrying out our daily activities.

"We've carried out similar programmes in the past in Le Roys Bush catchment, Birkenhead and Ashfield Rd in the Wairau Valley and these programmes were very successful in identifying and resolving many actual and potential sources of pollution," says Ms Managh.

Many North Shore City and other businesses in the Auckland region, are taking positive action for the environment by participating in the EnviroSmart programme, which helps businesses to improve environmental performance, gain environmental certification and even save them money. Please visit www.envirosmart.co.nz for further information.


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