The thing I hear most often from Hibiscus Coast residents is how beautiful the beaches are and how lucky we are to be near this coastal environment.
At the same time, rubbish is dropped everywhere and a lot of it ends up on the beach or in the sea, and inside wildlife such as fish and seabirds.
I can scoop up small bagful of rubbish and recyclables every day in my short walk through Orewa town centre, to get coffee. I know others do this, but the more that make the effort, the less rubbish ends up in the sea.
The most common things found in local cleanups include cigarette butts, single use cups and plastic drink bottles, chip and lolly packets and plastic lollypop sticks.
It may look relatively clean around here, but once you look closely a different picture emerges.
There is no one to blame for this but us. We can’t be perfect, but everyone can do small things that together make a difference. It may mean making changes that will soon become second nature – just as not using single use plastic bags or coffee cups is becoming the norm. Taking part in local beach cleanups is wonderful but cleaning up after ourselves needs to become a way of life.
We can model for our family how to dispose of rubbish in a responsible way including recycling items effectively – a recent Waste Management Institute of NZ report found that Kiwis placed an estimated 97 million plastic drink and milk bottles in their rubbish instead of recycling bins in the past year. Long term change will only come if we can cut the problem off at the source by reducing the items we buy that come in single use plastic or polystrene packaging – for example, finding alternatives to individual serving-size packets of items such as chips for lunches. Companies only make these things because we continue to buy them.
Whatever you can do, however large or small, make a start. Every contribution makes a difference.