Wed, Apr 17, 2024 8:00 AM

Rangers rubbish find sparks call for action


Paula Hulburt

A trio of friends are calling for tougher rules over littering after discovering dumped rubbish hidden at a local beauty spot.

GirlGuiding NZ rangers Aimee Stewart, Ruby Cook and Kylah Watson organised a clean-up at the Wairau Bar recently.

The friends were shocked to find a mattress, suitcase, dinning room chair and a baby walker among other debris.

Putting rubbish bins in place, increasing surveillance and enforcement could help keep the popular spot pristine, they say.

“I think we were all very surprised at the amount of rubbish we found and what it was,” Aimee says.

“We found a pile of rubbish hidden around a corner which included a mattress, suitcase, an old dining room chair and a baby walker chair. We found a lot of packaging from fish bait and hooks.

“The things we found were mostly plastic, paper and cardboard.”


With help from other Rangers, Girl Guides and parents, 1534 individual pieces were picked up over a four-hour stint earlier this month.

Organising the clean up as part of their Green Advocacy Badge, Ruby, Aimee and Kylah came up with the idea after an earlier visit to the Bar.

A Ranger for a year and a half, Aimee has been involved in GirlGuiding NZ since she was 6 years old.

“I enjoy it because of all of the opportunities it gives me, the new things I get to learn and the people I get to meet.

“We came up with the idea after I went to the Wairau bar last year with the Marlborough Girls' College Enviro Team and realised how bad it was. I suggested the idea to the other two and we quickly built a plan,” Aimee says.


The huge haul, which will be recycled where possible, prompted the team to take action. Plans include contacting Marlborough District Council, fishing companies and getting fishing fans on board.

More sustainable packaging would be great, explains Aimee who say they believe education is important.

“…educating the public but specifically the fishermen who need to understand that if they want to fish at the bar then they need to pick up all of their rubbish.

“The plastic pieces that get into the water can potentially kill the fish meaning that the population would be slowly dying and they won't be able to fish anymore.”

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