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Omaru Creek gets a 176kg clean up

MEDIA RELEASE 22 July 2013

Omaru Creek gets a 176kg clean up

Sunday’s ‘Let’s Keep New Zealand Beautiful Together’ litter clean-up held at Glen Innes’ Omaru Creek saw 176kg of rubbish removed from this once important eel and fish habitat. The small team of volunteers removed plastic bags, wrappers, glass, plastic bottles and tyres with still more work needed to clean up this once popular local fishing and swimming spot.

"It was great to work with passionate volunteers who are willing to give up their Sunday morning to contribute to a more sustainable future,” says Conservation Volunteers NZ’s Project Officer Bridie Grough. “It's shocking how much rubbish can be found in such a small area, especially plastic items that leach toxic chemicals into the water and become part of the food chain with wildlife mistaking the rubbish for food, eating it and feeding it to their young.”

Run by Conservation Volunteers New Zealand, the clean-up is part of a nationwide initiative, the aim of the programme is to educate and encourage Kiwis to re-duce, re-use and re-cycle – with funding from Keep New Zealand Beautiful, Coca-Cola Foundation Beverage Container Recycling Community Grants.

“The ‘Let’s Keep New Zealand Beautiful Together’ litter clean-ups create a better understanding of rubbish and its effect on our environment, waterways and even our own health,” says Conservation Volunteers New Zealand’s Clair Hobi. “Discarded rubbish eventually finds its way into our water ways with toxins entering the eco-system and affecting wildlife in the area. We can all do our bit to stop the damaging effects of litter.”

Volunteers also took part in an interactive educational programme aimed at increasing understanding of the devastating effects of rubbish on our environment.

Jennifer Erskine- " I felt we only skimmed the surface of the rubbish that’s there,” says Volunteer Jennifer Erskine. “I was saddened by the amount of glass in particular that we found. It looked like someone had just smashed bottles into hundreds of tiny pieces.”

Marine litter, particularly plastic, has a major impact on wildlife with animals becoming entangled or mistaking the litter for food, eating the plastic and feeding it to their young. As the plastic breaks into small fragments in the water it leaches potentially toxic chemicals into our seas, threatening our ocean wildlife and us.

Cigarette filters are also commonly mistaken for food by many animals. The toxic chemicals from discarded cigarette butts found in our water supply has been estimated at concentrations of around one cigarette butt per 7.5 litres of water on this earth.

Rubbish collected was sorted and where possible recycled, then weighed and audited so the AKL Council and other local organisations can be informed about where our rubbish comes from.

Local residents are encouraged to discover how they too can make positive environmental changes by visiting www.alittlealot.org.nz and making a personal pledge such as cleaning up areas of rubbish, recycling, re-using, walking instead of using a vehicle, getting involved with conservation projects with their local community and many more.

Conservation Volunteers New Zealand run conservation and environmental programmes including habitat regeneration, enhancing our waterways and protecting New Zealand’s special habitats and wildlife.

Founded in Australia in 1982, Conservation Volunteers expanded operations to New Zealand in 2006. Today, Conservation Volunteers is a leader in delivery of practical conservation programmes, community involvement and a range of training programmes involving over 12,000 volunteers across Australia and New Zealand every year.

For more information visit www.conservationvolunteers.co.nz

L -> R    Roseanna Spiers, Monish Santhosh, Qing Huang, Jennifer Erskine, Santhosh Sylvester


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