Our Beach Busters campaign, in association with Sustainable Coastlines, continues this weekend as hundreds of people take to the stunning Matakana Coast to spruce it up for summer.
Pleasingly, some of the top acts in a music festival will be joining the litter-busters before they start playing. More pleasingly still, the campaign has got to the bottom of a mystery: the source of thousands of bright-blue plastic shavings that had been baffling beachcombers and clean-up crews in the upper North Island.
It transpires that the small chips come from Korean fishing vessels: crews drill hundreds of holes in large plastic barrels which are used as traps for blind eels, a delicacy in some parts of Asia. The Kiwi second skipper of one such vessel has vowed to be more careful and the rest of the fleet will now know that the spotlight is on them.
It's a welcome reassurance early in the campaign that work like this has the potential not just to clean up rubbish, but to stop it from being dumped in the first place - to address the problem at the source, so to speak.
In an ideal world, of course, all pollution, including beach litter, would be addressed at the source, but this is not an ideal world. And initiatives such as Beach Busters give us all the chance to make a difference.
If you can't join us at Matakana today, or at other beaches in the coming weeks, adopt a small piece of the country and make it your business to keep it clean. Get you friends and family to help you. Always take your rubbish with you - and take a couple of pieces of someone else's as well. Together we can ensure that New Zealand lives up to its clean, green image.
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YOUR CHANCE TO WIN BIG
Take a photo of your friends or family cleaning up your favourite beach and go in the draw to win a Sony Cyber-shot TX10, valued at $649.95. With an Underwater Sweep Panorama function and 16.2 Mega Pixels you'll be able to take stunning underwater photos, as well as crystal clear shots on land. We have one camera to give away every week for the next 10 weeks to the person who takes the best photo, as judged by Herald on Sunday illustrations editor Chris Marriner. Five runners-up will each receive a copy of the book Beached As - New Zealand Beaches Then and Now by Craig Levers.
At the end of our Beach Busters campaign, the overall winner will receive a grand prize package comprising:
* a Sony Tablet S valued at $749.95
* a dive, snorkel or sightseeing trip for two to the Poor Knights Marine Reserve courtesy of Dive! Tutukaka
* $400 worth of clothing from surf label Sitka.
Entries close each week at Friday noon, and the winning photo will be printed each Sunday. So get snapping, and email your best shot as a JPEG to firstname.lastname@example.org with 'Beach Busters' in the subject line. Make sure you include your name, address and daytime phone number. Include a caption giving the place and full names of the people in the photo.
Please see terms and conditions at www.nzherald.co.nz/HOScompetitions. APN New Zealand reserves the right to store electronically any pictures entered in the competition and to use the images in any of its publications.