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Community spruces up Tasman Bay beaches

March 7th, 2017
[DOC press release]

Young people from Earth Guardians Motueka cleared rubbish from under the Motueka River bridge last weekend

Almost 300km of Tasman Bay beaches are cleaner after 4.77 tonnes of rubbish were removed on Saturday. This was significantly up on the 3.93 tonnes that was collected in November 2014.

Around 600 volunteers spent Saturday morning picking up rubbish from the coast between Totaranui and Pepin Island, as part of the Big Beach Clean event. Some teams went out in kayaks and boats to clean around the small offshore islands.

Rubbish cleared included tyres, rusty drums, netting, polystyrene, old clothing, duvets, wire and plenty of plastic and glass.

Less common items found were a gold watch (that still works), a boogie board, a broken toilet, an oven, a sink, part of a long-line net, and a message in a bottle.

The message in a bottle was found off Jackett Island. The message was dated 2000, and contained two names and a local phone number. Efforts are underway to contact the people that wrote the message.

One group came across a live seagull entangled in fishing line, which was reported to the SPCA.

The event is organised by DOC in partnership with Nelson City Council, Tasman District Council and Nelmac Ltd.

DOC Operations Manager Motueka, Mark Townsend says a big thank you to the volunteers. "It's been a tremendous community effort once again to clean our Tasman Bay coast," he says.

"Beaches are more enjoyable for everyone with the rubbish removed. It also makes them safer for wildlife that can get entangled in beach debris.

"The enthusiasm from the community is inspiring, with many groups keen to return to the same site every year. The amount of rubbish collected has decreased since the first Big Beach Clean in 2010, when 10.489 tonnes was collected."

Some areas had very little rubbish this year, which is testament to the people who clean their local coastline regularly throughout the year.

To help keep coastal areas clean, people should take care to dispose of rubbish carefully and appropriately, particularly when out on the water.

DOC thanks Motueka New World and Tasman Bay Food Group Ltd (Juicies) for sponsoring the event. Thanks also go to Nelmac for their support with collection and disposal of the waste, and the councils for picking up the cost.

Participants who have photos they would like to share are encouraged to upload them with the hashtag #bigbeachcleannt.

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