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Christchurch residents to help save sealife

Christchurch residents to help save sealife by cleaning up local beaches



All sorts of household rubbish and plastics, including a printer, tyres and a television were collected at the Onehunga foreshore last year.

Three Christchurch beaches will become the focus of a big clean up later this month to kick off National SeaWeek which runs from 29 February until 8 March.

Over 330 Cantabrians have registered to take part in the Hirepool Big Clean Up on 29 February to collect rubbish on the beaches. They understand, and are keen to learn more about the importance of keeping our beaches beautiful and our waterways pristine.

The Big Clean initiative, now in its second year, is run in collaboration with Hirepool and Sustainable Coastlines.

Last year over 9200 litres of waste, equivalent to 180 wheelbarrow loads, were collected by 226 volunteers in three hours at the Onehunga foreshore in Auckland during the Hirepool Big Clean Up. The foreshore was so littered that plants were growing with their roots tangled in microplastics – tiny pieces of plastic debris that don’t break down and are ingested by sea life.

The Hirepool Big Clean Up organisers are hoping the situation in Christchurch isn’t so dire, and grateful for the support of those planning to head along on the day to help.

“This promises to be our largest beach clean-up in Christchurch and we’re excited to be able to work with amazing local community groups,” says Sustainable Coastlines co-founder Camden Howitt, who grew up in Ōtautahi. “I know how much we love our coastlines and we’re looking forward to seeing heaps of passionate people get involved.”

Local community groups will be running clean-up registration stations. New Brighton Beach, Sumner Beach and Lyttelton Harbour will be run by Sustain South Brighton, Remix Plastic and Conservation Volunteers New Zealand respectively. Groups will be directed from registration stations to rubbish hot-spots along the coast, spanning from Brooklands in the north to Governors Bay in Lyttelton Harbour for the clean-up from 1.30pm – 4.30pm.

In the lead up to the Hirepool Big Clean Up, Sustainable Coastlines will be educating kids at local schools about the importance of working towards cleaner coastlines to protect marine life. Kids taking part in the clean-up will see first-hand the amount of plastics and food wrappers collected that came straight from lunchboxes.

Scott Parry and Mig Rumney, presenters of TVNZ’s Fishing & Adventure, will join locals during the Big Clean Up event on Saturday 29 February to put the spotlight on this important initiative. Parry says they see the problem of microplastics first-hand and are passionate about educating people on the dangers they pose.

“With being on the water so often, we are even seeing microplastic appearing in the bellies of fish,” says Parry. “It’s truly frightening, because it’s essentially entering our food system.”

Hirepool has been partnering with Sustainable Coastlines for over two years in a shared quest to bring about positive change, towards cleaner coastlines and to protect marine life.

“At last year’s Big Clean Up we collected a massive amount of plastic straws, lollipop sticks, chip packets and pieces of balloon. We need to keep getting the message out there that people need to make changes, like avoiding buying items in small single use plastic wrappers,” says Shaun Owen, Hirepool Marketing Manager.

“Many Hirepool customers are into their fishing and recreational sports, so we wanted to get involved and play our part in rehabilitating our shores and educate the future generation on what needs to be done to save our sealife.”

The Hirepool Big Clean Up promises to be a fun day out for all ages, with free Phoenix drinks and Mexicali Fresh for the volunteers who take part.

To learn more about the Hirepool Big Clean Up visit www.thebigclean.co.nz

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