Rubbish in drains heading for beach

By Paul Harper

The drain audit yielded an assortment of rubbish heading for the harbour. Photo / Supplied
The drain audit yielded an assortment of rubbish heading for the harbour. Photo / Supplied

The average inner-city Auckland drain has 59 pieces of rubbish in it, an Auckland-based charity found at the weekend.

Sustainable Coastlines removed the floating rubbish from 33 drains along Queen St, finding nearly 2000 pieces.

From one Auckland drain, they took 130 pieces including 32 food wrappers, 28 cigarette butts and cigarette packets, 27 pieces of polystyrene, 14 pull tabs from beverage bottles, eight cosmetic items, four lollipop sticks, four plastic beverage bottles, three beverage bottle lids, three cigarette lighters, three plastic bags, two glass beverage bottles, one toy and one drinking straw.

Recent clean-up efforts along stretches of coast on the western Coromandel Peninsula, Hauraki Gulf islands and Auckland beaches have found the rubbish dumped on the streets of Auckland makes its way to popular beaches and recreation areas.

A three-day clean-up on the North Shore collected 15,000 litres of waste, a one-day clean-up around Rangitoto Island in December collected 200,000 pieces of rubbish, and 34,500 litres of rubbish was collected from the Coromandel Peninsula coastline in just three days.

The most common items are single-use plastic, says Camden Howitt of Sustainable Coastlines.

"Time and again we find that disposable products - which are unnecessary in the first place - are the worst offenders."

Mr Howitt said the weekend drain clean-up showed the local impact on ocean pollution.

"The simple solution is up to all of us as individuals: reduce the amount of waste we create and what we must use, dispose of it properly.

"Then it won't end up on our beaches."


* 32 food wrappers
* 28 cigarette butts and cigarette packets
* 27 pieces of polystyrene
* 14 pull tabs from beverage bottles
* eight cosmetic items
* four lollipop sticks
* four plastic drink bottles and three lids
* three cigarette lighters
* three plastic bags
* two glass bottles
* one toy
* one drinking straw.

- NZ Herald

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