Tonnes of Rena trash collected from coast

AARON LEAMAN
Last updated 05:00 10/04/2012
Sailors Grave
PETER DRURY/Fairfax NZ
BEACH DEBRIS: Plastic beads from the Rena are washed up on Sailors Grave near Tairua.

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About 15 tonnes of Rena debris has been collected from along the Coromandel coastline over Easter and salvors are expected to exploit today's "weather window" to continue the coastal cleanup.

Favourable weather forecast for the next few days should allow salvors Braemar Howells to reach rocky areas recently off-limits because of high swells.

Waikato Regional Council's emergency management officer, Adam Munro, said contractors spent yesterday transporting heavy equipment up from Tauranga.

Divers, inflatable boats, a barge and a helicopter are expected to be used to collect debris from rocky outcrops between Sailors Grave, north of Tairua, up to Hot Water Beach and Simpsons Beach, in Mercury Bay, to Matapaua Bay.

Mr Munro said volunteers continued to play a "critical" role in cleaning up debris, with more than 100 beachgoers taking time out over Easter to pick up small plastic beads along the Coromandel coastline.

"The overseas contractors have said how impressed they've been at the willingness of people to help clean up the beaches," he said.

"Obviously there are important health and safety elements people need to be aware of but the public's support and help has been critical. They've been our Johnny-on-the-spot."

Oily seaweed from the Astrolabe Reef as well as wool bales and wheelbarrow buckets from the Rena were expected to be picked up by salvors.

"It's important we remain vigilant because we can't spot everything from the air and boaties should exercise caution."

Mr Munro also said anyone wanting to collect plastic beads off the beach should visit the Thames-Coromandel District Council's website to learn the best removal technique.

"There is a technique to it and we've found a light brush and shovel works well.

"Obviously we don't want people removing too much sand because it is a natural resource."

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- Waikato Times

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