It's an age thing, awareness of one's individual responsibilities for keeping the environment clean and preserved for future generations.

When really, it should be a young-age thing: Of being brainwashed on those responsibilities from when we're toddlers so being green is second nature.

From the detergents, shampoos, cosmetics and household chemical products, we need to reconsider. To stay in Auckland, given it has one third the country's population, more than a million cubic metres of waste water and raw sewerage is discharged every year into reputedly pristine waters.

Auckland Mayor, Phil Goff - a good man, I believe - promises to get onto this problem "urgently."

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He better. So should every city council, Watercare and every organisation connected to our environment before it's too late.

Campaigns are needed. Like naming and shaming individual or business offenders. Educative campaigns are needed to make polluting shameful, like drink-driving became and anti-smoking forces made of tobacco.

With tobacco now priced way beyond the average person's budget, smoking has declined drastically throughout the Western world.

Government should tax most chemicals, from production source to retail outlet; slam consumers until we get it. The tax should be used to pay for the clean-up.

Diesel we now know is seriously bad for the environment. Ban it.

Every vehicle should have an auto-pay toll device and motorists hammered until they change their too-casual driving habits.

Given how valuable tourism is to the country, government and councils should set public goals and play on our sense of Kiwi pride to keep us truly clean and green.

Make dredging illegal, move commercial fishing way offshore and don't be bullied by the fishing industry crying out that its exports "benefit the nation."

Not as much their fishing methods and couldn't-care-less approach damages the country.

Wrecking and killing everything in their trawling, dredging, purse seining path, the commercial fishing industry has destroyed much of the sea floor eco-systems around the country's shorelines and some kilometres beyond.

This has to stop.

Our fish quota system has been lauded for conserving fish stocks. But it's a lie.

A fisherman hauls up his net and throws scores of different species back - dead - keeping only what his quota allows. Half the time he's wrecked the sea floor. The fish quota is sold overseas; the fisherman has acted within the law.

But not for a moment in the spirit. Tens of thousands of tonnes of dead, discarded fish is madness by any other name. Push commercial fishers at least 30 kilometres offshore, buy back good chunks of their quota and never sell them again.

Recreational fishers must accept lower catch quotas. Yep, that's you and your boat with your mates and beer cans hauling up snapper and posting your proud catches on Facebook.

Come home a bit sooner, with a lot fewer fish. Save your smiles for your country, not yourself.

Clay run-off from house building should be subject to heavy fines. All well and good ACC spending a million half bucks on a state house replica in the name of art. Meanwhile, its ''windows'' look out over a harbour that is getting more polluted while councils stay silent.

Ten polluted Auckland beaches have been deemed unsafe for swimming. Clean and green New Zealand, eh?

Mean, short-sighted and selfish a better description. Not recycling is polluting.

Further afield, the dairy farming industry has polluted virtually every stream and creek and countless lakes in the country. It has to stop before it's too late.

If our precious rugby game was under similar threat the problem would be fixed pretty damn quickly. Well, this problem is more important than rugby.

Where are the hoardings exhorting us on how not to pollute, how and what to recycle?

Why no television/radio campaigns funded by government giving a relentless message that polluting is akin to murdering. Recycling should be made compulsory for everyone.

Private and business activities should have ethical standards set.

Auckland City Council must lead from the front by waging an intense programme educating us on how each can help lessen the effects of pollution and abuse of our land, waters and air.

If we need a reminder of ignoring the problem of short-sighted thinking, look at Japan, consumers of 80 per cent of the world's Bluefin tuna catch. That resource is now down by 97 per cent from its peak.

Do we have to wait for such a disaster before we learn?