A rubbish-free coastline is the aim of the Dunedin Coastal Cleanup being held this Sunday, 6 March, as part of Seaweek 2011.
Cleanup organiser, Department of Conservation (DOC) Community Relations Ranger Liz Sherwood, hopes Dunedin people will volunteer some time to collect rubbish from any piece of coast between Waikouaiti and Taieri Mouth. The event is also being organised by the Dunedin City Council (DCC).
The event, now in fifth year, has seen hundreds of volunteers and community group members collect close to 5 tonnes of rubbish from Otago Harbour and beaches.
“People drop a huge amount of rubbish on Dunedin beaches, and this is a chance to remedy that. When visiting our beautiful beaches, we want people to take their rubbish home and leave only footprints,” Ms Sherwood said.
“Plastic shopping bags are particularly dangerous to wildlife – sea lions can mistake them for jellyfish and eat them. Every year, seals, penguins, fish, dolphins, whales, albatrosses and other birds mistakenly swallow rubbish thinking it’s food, then choke or become entangled in rope and plastics and drown,” she said.
“The amount of waste and the types of waste that pollutes our coast is shocking. It’s a reality check, seeing all the collected rubbish piling up as participants arrive with boot-loads and trailer-loads of the stuff. A huge amount of plastics, glass, electronics, appliances, and food and drink packaging turn up – it’s really sad,” she said.
Organisers are hoping the number of plastic shopping bags collected this year will be down on previous years, due to the increasing use of cloth bags for groceries. And with improved kerbside recycling just started, they expect to see significantly less recyclable waste being dumped.
“We need to act more responsibly to reduce the amount of packaging being produced and purchased. Choosing products with less packaging, or recyclable packaging, and making best use of recycling facilities will help,” Ms Sherwood said.
Rubbish collected from beaches can be taken to Hancock Park carpark, St Kilda, between 12pm and 3pm for disposal. People can pick up bags and gloves from the DOC office at 77 Lower Stuart St or DCC service centre in the Octagon, or they can use their own bags and gloves.
There will be other stations for collected rubbish at:
- Beach St carpark, Waikouaiti, by 1pm
- Brighton Beach carpark, by 1pm
- Warrington Reserve by 1pm.
Groups which have offered their help this year:
- Christian Services,
- Aramoana Conservation Group,
- Smaills-Tomahawk Beach Care Trust,
- Save the Otago Peninsula Soc (STOP),
- Big Rock Boardriders,
- Selwyn College,
- Students for Environmental Action Otago,
- Keep Dunedin Beautiful,
- Kiwi Conservation Club,
- Campus Green,
- Sara Cohen School,
- Kavanagh College,
- Warrington Reserve Group,
- DOC Youth Development Programme.
Other events to celebrate Seaweek in Dunedin include a poster competition being run by DCC, activities at the Portobello Aquarium, and a limerick competition being run by Yellow-eyed Penguin Trust. The children’s radio show Space Station Kiwi (Toroa Radio 1575 AM) is running a special Seaweek programme from 5-6pm on Wednesday 2 March.
Materials that can now be recycled kerbside (for more information check out the Dunedin City Council website):
- Glass bottles and jars – unbroken, rinsed
- Paper - these can be placed straight into your bin (please note, shredded paper must be in bags before putting it in the bin)
- Cardboard - there is no need to tie these up, but flattening and folding them will give you more room in your bin
- Plastics numbered 1-7, clean rigid containers only, with lids removed as otherwise they explode in the sorting line
- Aluminium or steel cans - need to be washed but no longer need to have both ends removed, or be squashed.