Mother Nature the focus of Christchurch clean up

Gordon McKay, Gerry Ballantine, Bernie Kenny and Kris Wilson, from the Christchurch South Lions Club, pick up rubbish ...
STACY SQUIRES/FAIRFAX NZ

Gordon McKay, Gerry Ballantine, Bernie Kenny and Kris Wilson, from the Christchurch South Lions Club, pick up rubbish along the Heathcote River between Ensors and Waltham roads.

Plastic bags, food wrappers, straws and bottle tops have been pulled from sites around Christchurch in a bid to address rubbish disposal methods.

Hundreds of volunteers took part in this year's Mother of All Clean Ups on Saturday, filling 705 black rubbish bags over 39 sites across the city.

Event spokeswoman Charlotte O'Sullivan said organisers were thrilled with this year's turnout, given the dreary weather.

The volunteers collected 705 bags of rubbish from the sides of waterways around the city.
STACY SQUIRES/FAIRFAX NZ

The volunteers collected 705 bags of rubbish from the sides of waterways around the city.

"It was great to see there was everyone, from young kids to families, to older people to teenagers at the different locations . . . It was a really great day."

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Alongside the huge haul of rubbish, 250 large loose items – including mattresses, televisions and couches – were pulled from various sites around Christchurch.

Kris Wilson picks up rubbish along the Heathcote River during the Mother of All Clean Ups event on Saturday.
STACY SQUIRES/FAIRFAX NZ

Kris Wilson picks up rubbish along the Heathcote River during the Mother of All Clean Ups event on Saturday.

The Heathcote and Avon rivers, Kerrs Reach and the Avon-Heathcote Estuary were among the sites given a much-needed spruce up.

O'Sullivan, who worked on the estuary area, said lots of bottle caps and cigarettes were collected from the site, filling two City Care rubbish trucks. Larger items, such as tyres and mattresses, were left behind for the Christchurch City Council to remove later.

Students and staff from Shirley Boys' High School helped play a part in tidying the 156 kilometres of riverbank and estuary edge in the city.

Their section of bank, between Avondale and Anzac Bridge, filled 40 rubbish bags, mostly with plastic and bottle waste recovered from the edge of the river and adjacent parkland.

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O'Sullivan said this year's turnout helped create a sense of community, while highlighting the importance of caring for the waterways.

"Ultimately, we want to collect less and less rubbish each year because then people are more aware that they can't chuck their rubbish in the water.

"Hopefully we won't have to have a clean up in a couple of years."

Organiser Tanya Jenkins, from the Estuary Trust, had hoped this year would be as successful as the last in seeing a reduction in the amount of waste collected.

Close to 1300 members of the public tidied up water-side parts of the city in 2016, collecting several tonnes of rubbish.

 - Stuff

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