Date: 02 March 2012
With the Rena incident still fresh in our minds this Seaweek (3-11 March) on the East Coast encourages our communities to protect our marine environment by reducing the amount of general rubbish in our waterways impacting on our sea and birdlife.
Seaweek is an opportunity to consider the impact our activities are having on Tangaroa (the sea) says Seaweek Regional Co-ordinator, Trudi Ngawhare.
During regular monitoring at Te Tapuwae o Rongokako Marine Reserve, Department of Conservation (DOC) Ranger, Jamie Quirk collected rubbish along a four kilometre stretch then divided into five categories: Rena, farming, fishing, miscellaneous and general.
The general rubbish pile was the ”clear winner”, comprising the majority including 33 plastic bottles and 3 glass bottles, while 17 plastic containers were from the Rena. Unusual rubbish was half a lawn mower catcher, Puma sports hat and a Mars beach ball. Glow sticks off longlines were also common.
Rubbish collected Te Tapuwae o Rongokako Marine Reserve
“The Rena had a devastating effect on our marine environment, but of equal concern is the large amount of general rubbish that is continually in our waterways and is easily fixed if each of us plays our part” says Mr Quirk.
Te Tapuwae o Rongokako Marine Reserve is seen as being nationally significant for providing recreation, education and having special ecological and scientific values.
“In New Zealand 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 plastic and drown” says Mr Quirk.
“Our children are also sending a clear message to “clean up our act” concerned about the amount of pollution in the waterways, expressed through poetry and pictures in the Seaweek Kids competition” says Ms Ngawhare.
A beach clean-up is planned for the Seaweek Family Fun Day on Saturday 10th March 10.30am at Te Tapuwae o Rongokako Marine Reserve, Gisborne.
Other events include Education Days at Te Tapuwae o Rongokako Marine Reserve, Seaweek Kids Corner Tuesday 6th March 6pm and a library display at the HB Williams Memorial Library.
Trudi Ngawhare, Ph: +64 6 869 0487