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Keeping the beach clean

RACHEL STURGES
Last updated 05:00 28/11/2012
Elizabeth Eames
RACHEL STURGES
CLEANING UP: Elizabeth Eames voluntarily picks up rubbish at Mission Bay each day and would like others to do their part too.

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Regular beachgoers at Mission Bay will be used to seeing Elizabeth Eames slowly walking barefoot along the beach picking up litter.

A year ago the Mission Bay resident decided there was too much rubbish on the beach and wanted to make a difference by picking up as much as she could.

Every day, wearing rubber gloves and armed with a plastic bag, she picks up rubbish left by visitors or brought in by the tide.

The rubbish includes broken glass, bottles, bottle tops, numerous plastic ice-cream spoons, used condoms, cigarette ends and packets, fish and chip papers and takeaway food containers.

"After a storm, it's worse," she says.

Ms Eames says she has made "a huge dent" in the amount of rubbish left lying on the beach during the last year but also acknowledges the council's efforts.

"The council is doing a much better job now than when I started doing this," she says.

But she thinks the council could do more, by taking litter away more often in the summer, weekends and on Mondays when the weekend visitors have gone.

She says she'd heard that the council had decreased its litter services in the area. But Local and Sports Parks Central manager Grant Muir says the Mission Bay area has the highest level of litter services in central Auckland and this has not changed in the last year.

"We pick up litter three times a day between October and March and twice a day between April and September," he says.

He says council also has the ability to "ramp it up" on extra days when needed.

Additional 60-litre wheelie bins are brought in during extremely busy times.

The council has also changed the shape of the litter bins in the area to allow for takeaway food packaging, such as pizza boxes.

"We think we have it about right," he says.

But Mr Muir also acknowledges the "drop it and leave it mentality" of many beachgoers and says it is also up to the public to take home their own rubbish.

Ms Eames, who also picks up litter at Kohimarama and St Heliers beaches agrees that everyone should do their bit.

"Every little piece counts. One person can affect the whole," she says.

"When you are walking, please pick up the bits of rubbish you see."

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- East And Bays Courier

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