Volunteers Abbey and Ryan helping at the beach clean up
Over 50 bags of rubbish were collected from 14 beaches as well as the Taylor River. Rubbish included the typical collection of cans, ropes, fishing lines and bottle tops along with some strange items such as a full jar of peanut butter and a wetsuit.
The multi-group, multi-location clean-up was part of Seaweek last week.
DOC ranger Wendy Sullivan wanted everyone to get behind the event in whatever way worked for them, by either joining a public clean up or by hosting their own.
"It can be a bit disheartening just doing one small area, when you know there is so much more rubbish out there. By hitting multiple areas, it feels like we are making a difference."
There were three public events at Picton foreshore, Taylor River and Rarangi beach throughout the week. The public events were hosted by volunteers from Conservation Kids, Marlborough Freshwater Fishing Association, and keen volunteer Cloe Vining.
There wasn't much rubbish found along the Rarangi beach this year. Rarangi local Trudie Lasham felt this reflects the efforts by locals to pick up rubbish when they walk along the beach. "It's frustrating to see beer bottles and food wrappers dumped in the reserve behind the campground though'.
Several communities also got behind the event. The Andrews family from Ngakuta decided to clean up Shakespeare Bay, as Judith Andrews felt Ngakuta Bay is kept clean by locals. "The beach at Shakespeare is certainly in much better shape now. The kids were more of a hindrance than help and the dog was worse! It's a great activity for the kids to get involved in".
The support from several businesses was really encouraging. NZ King Salmon undertook clean ups at six sites in the outer Sounds. "We do several clean ups of the beaches around our salmon farms at other times of the year, but it was great to be part of this community event", said Karen Mant, Environment Projects Manager.
Marine & Aquaculture Contracting supported two of the public cleans ups. Driftwood Resort and Eco Tours provided kayak support in the Taylor River. Waikawa Dive Centre undertook a dive clean up around the Picton foreshore and Shelley Beach. Staff from Marine Farming Association and Marlborough Hunting and Fishing also supported the events.
In total around 110 people spent over 220 hours picking up rubbish. "This goes to show what we can achieve if we work together as a community", said Wendy Sullivan.
"It's a great feeling to get the beaches cleaned up. As well as being an eyesore, birds, marine mammals and fish can ingest it and suffocate or starve. Plastic breaks down into smaller pieces and ends up in our food chain.
"One day we will do a beach clean-up and find nothing. That will be considered a success".