Wellington's mayor got down and dirty today to help make the city's harbour a cleaner place.
In full scuba gear, mayor Celia Wade-Brown led a team of divers into the murky shallows beneath Taranaki Wharf to retrieve cans, plastic, polystyrene and an old shopping cart from the water.
For the annual Educate to Eliminate clean-up, about 40 volunteers turned out to beautify the water and raise awareness of the marine life below the wharf.
Wade-Brown joined seven other divers, along with a group of others clambering on the rocks beneath the wharf and kayakers, who transported the rubbish from the collectors to the sorters on the wharf.
''It's dark and murky ... [but] it was just lovely to see all the sea life down there,'' Ms Wade-Brown, who has an advanced dive certificate, said.
''There's lots of starfish, mussels and crabs. There's plenty of life.''
She said there was less rubbish than in previous years.
When the rubbish - cans, bottles and sheets of plastic - was brought to the surface, helpers sorted it, carefully removing any marine life caught in the garbage.
Organiser Steve Journee said it was nice to note the rubbish volume was down, but there was more work to do.
''It's partly what we do and partly getting the message through [not to litter].
''It'd be great to come down here one year and find nothing.''
The largest recovery was a rusting old shopping trolley that had been half-submerged in silt. Divers last year had been unable to retrieve it, but with the help of three people on a rope, this year it was hauled from the sea.
- The Dominion Post