Three stolen cars were recovered along with used and unused nappies during a rubbish clean-up that saw 7500kg of waste cleared out of a Whangārei suburb.
Two of the five cars picked up during the drive were recently stolen cars and one was stolen so long ago it had trees growing in it. Police were called to inspect the area and they were able to update three investigations from the reporting of their locations.
Along with the cars, the group found rubbish including a boat cabin roof, aloe plants, Polaroid camera, Xbox controller, shade tent, a huge box of unused nappies, used nappies, assorted balls, two cyclical exercise machines, refrigerator, a hospital gurney, six couches, clothes dryer, sheets of corrugated iron, five bicycles, a scooter, two mattresses, a bed base and four car bumpers.
The group of 45 volunteers started early on Sunday at the Fairburn Street Field in Raumanga for a rubbish clean-up that collected 3380kg of rubbish and five cars with an approximate weight of 4135kg.
The volunteer day was organised by For Our Real Clean Environment (FORCE), founded by local councillor Nicholas Connop.
"Sometimes people have so much personal stuff to deal with, like depression, and they cannot do their part in disposing of the rubbish," said Connop. "The price for the rubbish disposal too is going up, to keep up with the infrastructure needs in Whangarei. So, we as a community, need to be on top of these things and help out where we can.
Connop, along with his partner Karen Lee, do a monthly rubbish clean-up drive in different areas of Whāngarei. Their organisation FORCE has collected a total of 9095kg of waste, 905kg of recycling and salvage items, lodged 645 volunteer hours and 170 individual volunteer numbers this year.
The Raumanga rubbish clean-up marked the beginning of the National Volunteer Week 2021 (June 20 – June 26).
Connop said thanks was owed to Jamie Austin who provided the tractor to collect the rubbish. Help came also from the 4x4 Club which offered to drag out cars that were difficult to access, Rotary Club, and arborist Paul Gosling who cleared scrub.
"We are really proud of the volunteers. We rely on each one of them. Whangārei District looks after the disposal for us and is done free of cost. The Recreational Services provided with a truck to collect the rubbish."
Among the volunteers was Whangārei MP Emily Henderson. Connop said it was good to see a local MP stay for the entire day and appreciated the support.
"Rubbish is not everyone's cup of tea but it is everywhere. What we can do is spread knowledge about it and do our bit to clean it up.
"We encourage the public to pick up rubbish wherever they go. Just roll down the car windows and you can see rubbish by the sides of the road."