Locals abuse beaches - ranger

By Patrick O'Sullivan

Jim Diggle, of Hastings, with some of the rubbish along Awatoto Beach, near Waitangi Reserve. Photo / Duncan Brown
Jim Diggle, of Hastings, with some of the rubbish along Awatoto Beach, near Waitangi Reserve. Photo / Duncan Brown

It is local people using our beaches who are abusing them the most, says beach ranger Jim Diggle of Hastings.

He is sick and tired of coming across litter during his regular jaunts to the beach.

"Instead of a gym I jump in my car and I go down to Westshore, go down to Clifton - all the beaches on a regular basis and do my half-dozen kilometres," he said.

Whenever he can he brings his grandchildren with him, including his 9-year-old granddaughter whom he said delights in going barefoot whenever she can.

Often they come across litter, including freshly-broken glass which they bury or take home to dispose of.

"Some of these pieces have jagged edges and I am terrified to think of the effects of a small child walking on one."

The littering is so bad at Waitangi Regional Park he does not visit it.

"I have given up on the area used by fishers where the Tutaikuri River enters the sea.

The last time I visited I was dismayed at all the polystyrene, cardboard and paper food wrappers and other junk which seem to be simply dumped on the assumption that someone else will remove them.

"If it's not that it's nappies full of crap wrapped up and dumped as well.

"The saddest thing of all about this, is that it is the people who are supposedly getting pleasure and catching fish on the beaches who are the main offenders.

"I hope they or their kids never stand on a piece of jagged glass or have to explain to a visitor to Hawke's Bay why we are too lazy to take our rubbish home."

Hawke's Bay Regional Council spokesman Drew Broadley said he was aware littering was a problem in the park and held regular cleanups.

He said the council was also responsible for beaches to the high-tide mark.

"We hold regular beach cleanups which are publicised, inviting the public to come along and do the best that we can to pick up rubbish that people unfortunately leave," he said.

The council was ready to prosecute people for unauthorised dumping "but it is quite a difficult process". "We have to trawl through rubbish and to get a prosecution we would have to rely on an eyewitness account."

He said the council did not have the resources to patrol the problem on an ongoing basis and relied on the public "to help where they can". "I'm not talking about vigilante behaviour, but it might be a comment like, 'Hey, could you pick that up'."

- Hawkes Bay Today

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