Saddened by amount of rubbish in our city rivers

Cleaning up after others.

Cleaning up after others.

Paddlers Kathy Sheldrake (pictured) and Heather Waikari almost fill their waka cockpits with rubbish while out on the Taruheru River. They are disappointed this discarded rubbish is a regular feature in Gisborne’s rivers. Picture by Heather Waikari
WHAT LIES BENEATH: Found in the Taruheru river.

One-person waka have little room for extra cargo but paddlers Kathy Sheldrake and Heather Waikari have been regularly filling the cockpits of their craft with rubbish floating in the Taruheru River.

“We’ve been picking it up for four years. The worst river is the Taruheru. People just toss their rubbish in there. We picked up a lot just before the recent rainstorm. Alot will have washed out to sea now.”

Among the debris is old toys, plastic containers, bottles and brightly-coloured plastic bags.

“A lot of the bright things in the water are what marine mammals are attracted to. We’ve seen on the news the whale that died with 80 plastic bags in its stomach.”

The women have also picked up plastic cigarette lighters they suspect were tossed from the bridge, and balls people have possibly thrown into the water.

Mrs Sheldrake said she was saddened by the number of ready-to-drink bottles in the river.

The rubbish the two paddlers almost filled their boats with was collected between the Marina and the Makaraka Cemetery bridge.

“We found a lot of rubbish between Campion Road and the bridge. We pick up what we can if it’s floating in the river or near to shore.

“A lot of it is higher up, though, and stuck in the mud.”

The Waimata River is less littered with plastic, glass and cans, but there is more garden waste afloat in the water, she says.

Mrs Sheldrake is glad to see like-minded people pick up rubbish on the beach and walkways, and she is heartened by the environmental awareness instilled in the young.

“I have faith in the next generation. They will be more particular than we are. They’re learning about it now.”

One-person waka have little room for extra cargo but paddlers Kathy Sheldrake and Heather Waikari have been regularly filling the cockpits of their craft with rubbish floating in the Taruheru River.

“We’ve been picking it up for four years. The worst river is the Taruheru. People just toss their rubbish in there. We picked up a lot just before the recent rainstorm. Alot will have washed out to sea now.”

Among the debris is old toys, plastic containers, bottles and brightly-coloured plastic bags.

“A lot of the bright things in the water are what marine mammals are attracted to. We’ve seen on the news the whale that died with 80 plastic bags in its stomach.”

The women have also picked up plastic cigarette lighters they suspect were tossed from the bridge, and balls people have possibly thrown into the water.

Mrs Sheldrake said she was saddened by the number of ready-to-drink bottles in the river.

The rubbish the two paddlers almost filled their boats with was collected between the Marina and the Makaraka Cemetery bridge.

“We found a lot of rubbish between Campion Road and the bridge. We pick up what we can if it’s floating in the river or near to shore.

“A lot of it is higher up, though, and stuck in the mud.”

The Waimata River is less littered with plastic, glass and cans, but there is more garden waste afloat in the water, she says.

Mrs Sheldrake is glad to see like-minded people pick up rubbish on the beach and walkways, and she is heartened by the environmental awareness instilled in the young.

“I have faith in the next generation. They will be more particular than we are. They’re learning about it now.”

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Winston Moreton - 2 months ago
Good on those paddlers, Maori and Pakeha, "tatau tatau eh". They should join forces with the folk trying to move the pine-tree slash from our waterways and beaches.

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