Caring for our coastal environment

What an amazing turn out we had for the Coastal Clean Up last Saturday!

Over 60 locals hit the beaches across the harbour to collect trash thrown up by the sea, as part of the International Coastal Clean Up Day on the 15th of September. Together we covered 5.5 kilometres and collected approx 1 cubic metre of rubbish from this isolated and beautiful coastline. Although the volume of rubbish we found was less than previous cleanups, the number of pieces collected was shocking.

The beach sweepers recorded the trash as they collected it – and found a staggering 3046 tiny pieces of plastic, 46 plastic shotgun waddings, 9 balls, 10 jandals/shoes, 6 intact lightbulbs, 9 lollipop sticks, 2 tarps, 190 plastic bottle lids, 36 food wrappers, 32 plastic takeaway containers, 41 plastic bottles, 7 lighters and 54 plastic bags amongst a range of other trash.

We’ll be sending all the data from this clean up, to the Ocean Conservancy to add to their international database – this work is putting Raglan on the map for taking care of our ocean environment! Continuing this data analysis approach, Ella van Gool & the Karioi team will be leading a citizen science project using transects to look at accumulation of microplastics along our coast. Not surprisingly, plastic was a common find. As we all know, sunlight and waves cause floating plastics to break into increasingly smaller particles, which can end up in the food chain causing death and illness in our marine life.

Our oceans need our help – together we can work to clean up what’s already out there and stop more plastic reaching our seas. The Whaingaroa Environment Centre plans to continue coordinating beach cleans with you, our community and supporting organisations – watch our facebook page, newsletter and this paper for details of the next one in summer. In the meantime, keep up the great work Whaingaroa! All you dog-walkers, beach strollers and ocean lovers are doing such as awesome job every time you pick up a couple of pieces of rubbish on your way along the beach.

Be the ripple in your network….this is how we do things here: we care for our coast.