Despite overcast weather conditions, 15 local volunteers tackled a mountain of rubbish at the first Auckland City Council creek and coast clean-up last week at Motions Creek in Westmere.
Within two hours, volunteers had filled 95 bags with 1500kgs of rubbish from an area half the size of a football field. Items recovered included roofing iron, heavy bank vaults, tyres, ladders, plastic and glass bottles, and plenty of plastic wrappers.
"You name it, we found it. This area was in real need of a good clean up, and local residents were most appreciative of the opportunity to pitch in," says David Bowden, the council's parks volunteer coordinator.
Concerns about the level of rubbish in the creek were raised by local residents last year.
"We are thrilled with the results. At first glance the creek might look litter-free, but under the surface lies plenty of rubbish", says local resident Mikel Durrell.
In fact, there was so much rubbish in the creek, locals have organised another clean-up before winter.
Motions Creek drains into the Waitemata Harbour along the eastern side of Meola Reef Reserve in Pt Chevalier. The creek provides food for a variety of birds and aquatic life, and drains through Auckland Zoo. It is an important flight path for birds moving between Western Springs and the ocean.
Litter thrown directly into streams or washed down through stormwater drains can transform creeks and beaches into unhealthy, smelly and unsightly places. Rubbish can also choke and trap birds and kill aquatic life.
All Auckland City Council creek and coast clean-up activities are on Sundays and include:
Tahuna Torea Nature Reserve in Glendowie on Sunday, 16 March at 9.30 am. Meet at the park main entrance, end of West Tamaki Road.
Manukau Foreshore East in Onehunga on Sunday, 30 March at 9.30 am. Meet at the Miami Parade walkway entrance, Angle Street/Miami Parade (entrance to the foreshore.
Gribblehirst Park in Sandringham on Sunday, 6 April at 9.30am. Meet in the carpark by the football clubrooms, Cabbage Tree Swamp Drive.
Tony Segedin Reserve in Avondale on Sunday, 13 April at 9.30am. Meet at the end of Riversdale Road, off Rosebank Road.
Wattle Bay Reserve in Lynfield on Sunday, 27 April at 9am. Meet at the Canberra Avenue entrance to the park.
Registration is not necessary so anyone interested can simply turn up on the day wearing sturdy shoes, sunscreen and strong gloves.