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Published: 2008-02-25 00:00:00

Don’t let litter and other rubbish blemish our beautiful beaches.

That’s the message Environment Waikato is promoting heavily in the region for the annual national Seaweek, from 2-8 March, which focuses on the need to protect the sea and coast.

“Our beaches on the west coast and on the Coromandel are amazingly beautiful recreational resources, too often blighted by litter from beachgoers and washed up rubbish,” said the council’s coastal community facilitator Sam Stephens, the regional coordinator for Seaweek.

“During Seaweek, we want to give some of our key beaches a good clean up, and get the message out that they must be kept clean and tidy if everyone is to enjoy them fully and protect the environment.”

With help from Thames-Coromandel District Council, Environment Waikato is organising local schools to clean up Coromandel beaches, while the regional council will also be working with schools to tackle rubbish at west coast beaches.

The Coromandel beaches involved in the clean up at this stage are Whangamata (Whangamata Area School), Tairua (Tairua School), Buffalo Beach (Mercury Bay Area School), Wilsons Bay beaches (Coromandel School) and Thames Coast beaches (Tapu School).

The West Coast beaches are Karioitahi (Waiuku Primary School), Ruapuke (Te Mata School), Raglan (Raglan Area School) and Kawhia Ocean beach (Kawhia School).

The idea is that litter will be taken back to the schools and subjected to a “waste audit” the following day to see where it has come from, while any suitable material will be sent for recycling.

“We’ll be getting children involved directly in helping to protect the environment, and educate them about the nature of rubbish and recycling,” said Mr Stephens.

“I’ve been getting feedback that a lot of Waikato people are frustrated at the levels of litter being found on our beaches, and the council urges all people using the sea and coast to take care with our iconic beaches.

“Also, city people need to remember that the litter or wastewater they throw away can end up in waterways through the storm-water system, and ultimately run into the sea. Up to 80 per cent of all rubbish found in the ocean comes there from off the land. We all need to take responsibility for keeping the coast and sea clean.”

Other activities in the pipeline for Seaweek in the Waikato include:

  • the Department of Conservation running “Experiencing Marine Reserves” days at Hahei
  • musical entertainment at a Raglan Sea Festival
  • a Hamilton City Council competition for schools with the message that storm-water drains are for rain only.

More information on Seaweek is available at www.seaweek.org.nz.