Nelson Iron Duke Sea Scout cub Cooper Nichols, left, venturer Robbie Anderson and scout Sophie Nichols with some of the rubbish they collected around Monaco during Saturday’s Big Beach Clean Up. Photo: Brittany Spencer.

Our beaches get a spruce up

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A gold watch, a safe, and a message in a bottle, were among the items found in Saturday’s Big Beach Clean.

Over 4.7 tonnes of rubbish was removed from the region’s beaches after 600 volunteers spent Saturday morning picking up rubbish along the coast between Totaranui and Pepin Island.

The rubbish cleared included the usual tyres, rusty drums, glass and plastic, but among the rubbish were also a gold watch, a safe, a broken toilet, an oven, and a message in a bottle.

The message in a bottle, which dates back to 2000, was found off Jacketts Island and contains two names and a local phone number.

Efforts are underway to contact the people who wrote the message.

The amount of rubbish collected is significantly up on the 3.93 tonnes collected in 2014, but still remains under half the amount of rubbish collected in the first Big Beach Clean in 2010, during which 10.48 tonnes was removed.

Among the groups tidying up our coast were the Iron Duke Sea Scouts who scoured Monaco for rubbish from 8.30-10am, finding everything from a safe, animal parts, an oven, washing lines and asbestos.

Eight year old cub, Cooper Nichols was the first to spot the safe on the banks of the Monaco peninsula.

“I didn’t really know what it was at first, I just thought it was a big box,” says Cooper. “It was a bit smaller than me.”

Scout Leader Chris Charles they had around 40 scouts and managed to collect 15 large rubbish bags of rubbish.

“Everyone had a bit of fun and the Big Beach Clean is pretty important to us, we’re sea scouts so looking after the environment we muck around in is part of our core.”

DOC operations manager for Motueka, Mark Townsend, says a big thank you to the volunteers.

“It’s been a tremendous community effort once again to clean our Tasman Bay coast. Beaches are more enjoyable for everyone with the rubbish removed. It also makes them safer for wildlife that can get entangled in beach debris.”

The Big Beach Clean is organised by DOC in partnership with Nelson City Council, Tasman District Council and Nelmac.