Big effort means a cleaner coastline

SIMON BLOOMBERG
Last updated 13:00 12/11/2012

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The good news is that the coastline from Abel Tasman National Park to Cable Bay is pristine today, thanks to hundreds of volunteers who gave up their Saturday to take part in the annual Big Beach Cleanup.

The bad news is that there are still people who are happy to desecrate 295 kilometres of the region's coastline with litter.

Thousands of plastic bags, bottles, and cans were collected during the annual cleanup, organised by the Department of Conservation, the Tasman district and Nelson city councils, and Nelmac - and TDC environmental education officer Rob Francis says that's too much.

Although the amount of rubbish collected this year has not yet been tallied, Mr Francis expected it to be slightly less than last year's 10.4 tonnes.

"My general feeling is that it was down on last year, but it's still disappointing that it still keeps coming," he said. "We aren't doing as well as we can be doing.

"But it was good that people gave up their Saturday to get out there and help clean things up. It's inspiring that we had so many volunteers out there."

The lack of litter was particularly evident at some sites, with one group of volunteers surprised by the unpolluted nature of the shoreline near Rough Island. Patrick and Mary McEntyre and Bernard and Sarah Isherwood found litter so hard to come by that they had time to collect pine cones.

"It's surprisingly clean," Mr McEntyre said. "Perhaps the message is getting out there. We've found some polystyrene, plastic bags, and bottles, but not as much as I thought."

Mr Francis, who helped to operate the collection site in Richmond, said volunteer groups cleaned up 52 sections of coastline.

It was the third year that the cleanup had been held.

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- © Fairfax NZ News

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