Wed, Mar 13, 2024 8:00 AM

Smiling faces and cleaner shores


William Woodworth

A week of events celebrating Marlborough’s beaches has seen volunteers give coastal areas a clean.

Seaweek, run by the Sir Peter Blake Marine Education & Recreation Centre, has been going since 1992 as New Zealand’s annual sea appreciation week.

Marlborough Conservation Events and Envirohub Marlborough joined forces to tackle trash on Rarangi, Picton and Shelly Beaches.

The community groups collaborated to help keep the popular outdoor spaces rubbish free.

Part of the Rarangi Beach cleanup’s haul Photo: Marlborough Conservation Events

Waitohi Sounds Community Ranger Miranda van der Linde says the idea is to get as many groups and individuals involved as possible.

“This year is the 7th of the Massive Marlborough Clean Up, with the aim of getting as many groups and individuals as possible involved in reducing the rubbish in our oceans in a multi-group, multi-location clean-up of Marlborough’s beaches and waterways.”

“Rarangi Beach was cleaned by more than 60 people of all ages, and a trailer load of rubbish was collected that included tyres and construction materials.

The majority [of rubbish] were drink cans, plastic lids and small plastic pieces that fragment in the elements and persist in the environment for many years.”

Envirohub Marlborough’s Ailie Suzuki is incredibly pleased by the community spirit shown.

“We’re involved in beach cleanups, the Litter Intelligence Project as a part of our marine conservation efforts and now we have Seaweek backing us in return, we’re also on board the Massive Marlborough Clean Up in whatever capacity”.

Ailie says getting people out in their seaside environments is a major key to a higher environmental appreciation.

“One of our founding goals was to get Marlburians to experience our beautiful backyard, including the ocean and the Sounds, especially those who don’t necessarily can go out and enjoy it.

Picton Foreshore’s cleanup primarily consisted of plastic wrappers, cans and bottles. Photo: William Woodworth

“Sunday’s Children's Day Ocean Adventure Cruise takes local families out on water who primarily have never had the opportunity to explore the Sounds fully sponsored out to Lochmara to the underwater observatory and the natural beauty there too.”

However, Ailie says the Litter Intelligence Project, which collects, measures, quantifies and records rubbish to find patterns, has meant she has started looking into what rubbish gets found at different cleanup sites.

“With most beach cleanups in the Sounds or at our Spring Clean, where we get Waikawa Dive Centre divers in the water, you get tyres, lumber, ropes, and fishing refuse but also secluded spots people use as dumping sites.

“The closer to civilisation you get more wrappers, cans, beer bottles, and still a surprising amount of cigarette butts – especially with how they leach into our soil, beaches and oceans”.

“When Picton has a big influx cruises or festivals, or even a windy rubbish day, bins overflow or spill so wheelie bins will be a godsend to prevent that.

“We know most people are good about their rubbish, but part of our mission is also to show people how much waste we make and finding more sustainable options to reduce the need for rubbish in general.”

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