TCDC and EW team up again for beach cleanups with schools
Collecting and assessing the amount of rubbish on the Peninsula’s beaches will again be the focus of Seaweek for local schools and Thames-Coromandel District Council.
The Council has teamed up with schools in Te Puru, Whangamata, Coromandel, Whitianga and Hikuai to collect and count litter that is either left or washed up on beaches, where it can pose a threat to marine life.
School children, teachers, parents and volunteers will join staff from TCDC and Environment Waikato to collect litter. The schools that have signed up this year are Mercury Bay Area School, Te Puru School, Coromandel Area School, Whangamata Area School and Hikuai School.
At beach cleanups last year school children gathered more than 4400 pieces of rubbish after spending little more than an hour collecting litter at four locations.
All rubbish is then sorted into type and individually counted to assist in gathering scientific data on the type and amount of waste. All material that can be recycled is then delivered by the Council to the nearest Refuse Transfer Station for recycling to ensure it does not all end up in landfill.
Different localities showed a varying source to the littler problem with a prevalence of fishing gear and industrial/farm rubbish in Whitianga, cigarette butts and lolly wrappers in Whangamata, rope fragments and lolly wrappers in Coromandel and beer bottles (450 in total), plastic bags and lolly wrappers in Tairua.
“The theme for Seaweek is ‘one ocean, it starts with me’ and we can all play a part in reducing the amount of rubbish going into our ocean,” says TCDC Communications Officer Alison Smith. “Little actions like not putting your rubbish bag out before collection day, reducing the packaging you buy, or making it a habit to collect one piece of rubbish every time you visit the beach can make a difference.”
She said last year there was over 1700 cigarette butts collected from a 1km stretch of beach near the Whangamata Surf Club and it will be interesting to see if there’s any improvement on that this year.
Note to editors: Mercury Bay Area School children will depart from the school at 9am Monday 2 March with rubbish audits to follow; Hikuai School children will collect litter starting at Pauanui Beach Surf Club from 9am Tuesday 3 March; Whangamata Area School from 9am Tuesday 3 March; Te Puru School from 9am to 10am on Wednesday 4 March and others to be confirmed.