More than 4.5 tonnes of rubbish was picked up off Nelson and Tasman beaches on Saturday, with local businesses, clubs and families pitching in to clean up the region’s foreshore.
Around 600 people took part in the spring clean, which spanned across 51 different beaches from Cable Bay to Marahau, and while the amount picked up was an improvement on last years 6.5 tonnes, there was still a huge amount of rubbish picked up by the groups says coordinator Janice Gravett.
Bob Irvine and Pauline Farley from Dry Crust have participated in all three of the now annual clean ups, and say although they thought there was a lot less rubbish than last year, there was a large amount of plastics found, made up of supermarket bags and gladwrap.
Pauline says they take part each year to raise awareness of the impact rubbish has on the environment.
“I have seen birds get their heads stuck in plastic and swallowing plastic, so I think it’s important that we stop littering and take responsibility for what ends up on our shoreline.”
The Big Beach Clean Up is organised in partnership with the Department of Conservation, Nelson City Council, Tasman District Council, and Nelmac, with a rubbish drop off station manned by staff at Tahuna Beach.
Conservation ranger Theo Chapman says it can be disheartening to see rubbish dropped on a daily basis, and commends the initiative that sees the community take an active role in caring for the environment.
“We’ve got a beautiful coastline, and this event encourages people to get involved in looking after it.”
The Maitahi Outrigger Canoe Club travelled to Haulashore Island by waka ama, and picked up 15 bags of rubbish from the shores, most of which Pete Bywater says was bottles and tins.
Across the region a collection of strange items were found, including bits of car, an old mattress and a bottle of marijuana.