How do we stop plastic trash entering the Hauraki Gulf?

Any beach walk shows it's a pressing problem, and one Aucklanders must solve.

Plastic is washed into stormwater drains, blown into water courses, dumped on the foreshore or at sea ... one way or another, it finds its way into the water and then breaks up, potentially to be ingested by seabirds, fish and shellfish.

Last month, on this page, we appealed for ideas and received a larger response than expected.


Several suggested banning plastic bags. One person wanted to culture "plastic-eating microbes", another to build trash sculptures, "to draw attention to the issue".

"One solution I have seen is for people out walking to take a plastic bag with them, or pick up one of those blowing around, and fill it with the litter lying around," said respondent Rose Winquist.

"Because people like to imitate, others might be inspired to do likewise, which would help the situation."

Some respondents had set up small to medium-sized businesses to recycle plastics, create packaging alternatives or extract plastic waste from the environment.

But in calling for a plastic tax, respondent Brodie Jean Hoare laid the blame squarely at the feet of big business.

"No matter how many beach clean-ups happen, plastic will still end up in our oceans unless change happens up top," Brodie pointed out. "It should be way easier to make decisions in a store or cafe that will have a minimal impact on the environment."