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Public needed in campaign against pollution

Public needed in campaign against pollution

Environment Canterbury is asking Canterbury residents to report any individual or organisation deliberately harming the environment by causing pollution.

The regional council’s pollution hotline receives 80 to 90 calls a week from the public. The types of incidents reported include pollution in streams, dumping of hazardous materials and waste, earthworks and disturbance in a river bed, smoky chimneys, unauthorised irrigation and outside fires.

Environmental protection manager Brett Aldridge says that Environment Canterbury needs people to be its eyes and ears so staff can respond quickly and efficiently to an incident and take the necessary steps to remediate the situation.

On Tuesday, December 1, the pollution hotline was contacted regarding oil in Milns Road Drain, near Halswell. Environment Canterbury staff traced the slick to the source which appeared to be a sump load of used oil dumped into Christchurch City Council’s stormwater system and immediately deployed booms to stop the oil reaching the Heathcote River.

“This particular clean up operation took three people six hours using two sucker trucks to remove the oil. In this case, the impact on ducks, fish life, eels and trout using the river was minimal; however there was the potential for serious effects if the spill had not been contained. Unfortunately, these types of incidents appear to becoming more prevalent, and due to their random nature, it is extremely difficult to find those responsible,” says Mr Aldridge.

The total cost to ratepayers for this one incident was $3300 which includes labour, trucks and materials.

“This is an instance where the advice of the community meant that Environment Canterbury could take prompt action to mitigate the effects of the oil spill,” says Mr Aldridge.

“However, we want people to take more responsibility for their own actions. But where this doesn’t occur, we are appealing to the public for information that can help us identify those responsible for this incident and other acts of deliberate pollution that may occur in the future. More information can lead to the appropriate enforcement action being taken.”

“Anybody seeing anything suspicious should take down as many details as possible, such as vehicle registration, time, location, a person’s description and call the pollution hotline.”

Environment Canterbury Pollution Hotline numbers are (03) 366 4663 for Christchurch residents, 0800 75 66 88 for residents outside Christchurch.

ENDS

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