Rubbish lifted from Blenheim river

Garth Haylock, left, helps clean up the Opawa River, in Blenheim, with Driftwood Retreat and Eco-Tours owner Will Parsons
SCOTT HAMMOND/FAIRFAX NZ

Garth Haylock, left, helps clean up the Opawa River, in Blenheim, with Driftwood Retreat and Eco-Tours owner Will Parsons

More than 20 five-litre bags of rubbish have been lifted from the Opawa River, in Blenheim, after a clean up organised for World Rivers Day. 

Driftwood Retreat and Eco-Tours owner Will Parsons said there were five adults and two children at the event on Sunday.

Items found included about 50 tennis balls, supermarket and bank receipts, old machinery, and wooden tables and chairs which Parsons thought must have belonged to duck shooters. 

The chairs had probably been swept down the river during the floods, he said.  

Despite the small numbers, the afternoon went well and he thought those involved did a "marvellous job" cleaning up a large amount of rubbish. 

"We divided the river up into sections," Parsons said. 

The terrain could be fairly difficult to navigate, with muddy patches and fallen trees to work around. 

"There's quite a big variety of vegetation and soil." 

He thought much of the rubbish had been swept into the Opawa from the Taylor River. With the rubbish gone he noticed a huge difference to the scenery, he said. 

The day had been a success and he thought he and his wife Rose would definitely do it again. Usually they cleaned up the area themselves, and there were other people in Blenheim who also cleaned up the environment privately, he said. 

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"A lot of people do things quietly themselves and just don't talk about it." 

The image of the Opawa River was important for their tourism business, he said. 

They were grateful to the mayor for giving them a special dispensation to take rubbish to the transfer station. Parsons thought most of the rubbish would not be able to be recycled.

There were a lot of bottles with unknown fluids in them, he said. 

He said he was "a little bit disconcerted" that Blenheim seemed to produce so much rubbish, considering the size of the town. 

However, the Opawa River was slow-moving, and rubbish tended to get caught in vegetation on its banks, he said. 

 - The Marlborough Express

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