Brothers Charlie, 9 and Quincy Carpenter, 5 are Whangarei's youngest environmental warriors.

They live on Matakohe/Limestone Island in the Whangarei Harbour with their parents, island rangers Emma Craig and Jono Carpenter.

This wee island a few hundred metres off the Onerahi foreshore was once a barren, ugly lump.

But it has been planted by a hardy band of volunteers and paid employees, and is now a haven for kiwi and a growing ecological treasure.

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Its easily accessible waters are popular with recreational fishers who target pan-sized snapper, the occasional kingfish and sometimes do battle with the bronze whaler sharks common over summer.

It's an important part of the Whangarei Harbour ecosystem, and Charlie and Quincy have pointed out that plastic-coated parking tickets are washing up on their doorstep.

The brothers took part in the public forum at the Whangarei District Council meeting last week to tell councillors about this.

The pair displayed 18 plastic-coated parking tickets, dispensed from pay and display machines, that they had collected, most from Matakohe Limestone Island.

Charlie produced a picture which showed ''parking ticket plus whale means a dead whale''.

The present tickets were introduced after the old ones faded, with some purchasers claiming the fading looked like the tickets had actually caught fire.

There are about 60 machines in Whangarei which dispense the tickets and the council will look at alternatives. One already exists - mPark, a mobile app which allows people to pay for their parking online.

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Whangarei has always been indignant about sewage leaking into the Whangarei Harbour and has spent millions rectifying this. How though, are parking tickets ending up in the harbour and why?

Limestone Island is a catchment from the currents that pour millions of litres of water in and out of the harbour.

It is a dot in the vast, shallow harbour. If non-biodegradable waste is being caught on its shores, think how much isn't, and is finding its way further down the harbour.

And how? This litter also highlights how lazy human beings are, and how poorly we treat our planet.

Luckily, we have kids like Charlie and Quincy to remind us of this, and prick our
social and environmental conscience.