The tidy Kiwi Kids at Onerahi Primary School have been learning about the effect rubbish can have on the environment first hand, helping clean up tonnes of trash from the Dragonfly Springs Wetland Sanctuary near their school.
Earlier this month senior students from the school went along to the wetland sanctuary to help clean up a whole heap of rubbish that had been dumped on the Raumati Cres property over several years.
Dragonfly Springs owner Jeremy Busck said the students and other volunteers filled up a 4.5 cubic metre rubbish skip with rubbish and while it was a tremendous effort, it was shame that they had to do it at all.
Mr Busck said most of the rubbish seemed to have been thrown over the fence of some neighbouring properties, with a bunch of undelivered Countdown supermarket circulars dating back to December 2016.
He said it was frustrating as Dragonfly Springs was a wetland set up to help the environment, but some people just seemed to think they could dump their rubbish there.
''Onerahi Primary School said it would like to help and sent two or three classrooms down and the children were wonderful. There were rotting nappies, lots of household rubbish, undelivered junk mail, car parts, including diff and a bumper,'' Mr Busck said.
The wetlands is a not-for-profit organisation and Mr Busck is getting sick of having to clean up other people's rubbish.
''We've filled five or six big skips (from cleaning up rubbish dumped on other parts of the wetlands) over the past 10 years or so that we have been here. I'm sick of it really.
''We are trying to do our bit for the environment. One of the purposes of the wetlands is to make the environment better for the good of everybody that is here, but this is pretty sad to see.''
Four stormwater outlets from Onerahi go through the wetlands, which act as a natural filter to stop rubbish getting into the sea.
''We pick up all that rubbish that would have previously gone into the sea, but we don't want to have to pick up all this extra rubbish.''
Illegal dumping is a major problem in Whangarei and throughout Northland, with some major fly tipping sites reported in the past few years.
Mr Busck said Whangarei District Council provided the skip for this lot of rubbish.