Wine bottles top list of rubbish

Eli Robertson, Rod Stewart, Stew Robertson and Megan Wilson with some of the  rubbish, including 770kg  of wine bottles, recovered from the seabed at Anchorage in Abel  Tasman National Park .
Eli Robertson, Rod Stewart, Stew Robertson and Megan Wilson with some of the rubbish, including 770kg of wine bottles, recovered from the seabed at Anchorage in Abel Tasman National Park .

A staggering 770 kilograms of discarded wine bottles sit among the rubbish collected in Abel Tasman National Park in the Big Beach Clean Up.

Beaches from Marahau to Cable Bay are free of 4.2 tonnes of rubbish after 30 groups of volunteers got stuck into 300 kilometres of coastline on Saturday.

The annual Big Beach Clean Up, supported by the Department of Conservation, Nelmac, Tasman District and Nelson City Councils, saw groups of volunteers take part in spring-cleaning their beaches.

Volunteers collected more than last year, as groups tackled areas they had not been to in the past, such as islands. They also collected 770kg of wine bottles from the sea bed at Anchorage in Abel Tasman National Park.

Although that cleanup dive was done two months ago, it was part of the Big Beach Clean Up and the first time the seabed had been tackled since the first Big Beach event.

Now in its fifth year, the determination and dedication of volunteers has seen the total refuse swept up in collections drop by a half.

The coastal areas were divided up into 50 areas that were cleaned up by various businesses and community groups.

Rubbish collected was put into three large rubbish compactors, in Richmond, Motueka and Tahunanui.

The Nelson Girl Guides collection team took to the beach along the coastal side of Tahuna Beach Holiday Park.

Nelmac marketing and communications manager Angela Mockett said the event showed people were "protective of their patch".

Waka ama groups were tasked with paddling out to Haulashore Island to clean up rubbish. They found coins from five different countries, and plenty of takeaway coffee cups.

Mockett said there were "fierce grey-haired beach warriors" who had taken part as well, collecting everything from wine bottles to a very old computer screen, and even a dead duck.

Three garden gnomes found lying together out towards Mapua was probably the weirdest thing collected, she said.

But any rubbish was bad, she said, especially for sea and beach creatures.

"The tiny bits are just as bad for the environment as the tyres."

DOC ranger Sally Leggett was also at Tahunanui Beach on Saturday.

"It's hugely important, it's great to give back and for the public to take ownership of their places."

She said the event was also good to raise awareness on the importance of keeping beaches clean.

The Nelson Mail