Meeting called on pollution of rivers

AL WILLIAMS
Last updated 05:00 17/02/2011

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Fisherman Ray Brokenshire has called a public meeting to address the degradation of the Opihi and Opuha Rivers.

The Temuka man, who has been an outspoken proponent for addressing water conditions in South Canterbury rivers will lead a gathering next Wednesday in an attempt to form a community group to lobby for improved water conditions.

Environment Canterbury is investigating the causes of a toxic algal bloom spreading throughout the Opihi River.

A public health warning was issued early this month warning people to stay out of the Opihi River near the Saleyards Bridge near Pleasant Point because of a toxic algal bloom.

It was the third announcement this summer with warnings posted at the Opihi River near the Waipopo Huts and the Pareora River at the Pareora Huts.

Mr Brokenshire said he has the support of Forest and Bird, South Canterbury Anglers, fishing guides, local whitebaiters, salmon fishermen and members of the public who use the rivers.

He was concerned that dairy farms were being developed alongside rivers, and about the use of fertiliser on those farms.

"Nitrogen will destroy the land; other countries have warned New Zealand."

Falling salmon numbers, river and lagoon damage, foul tasting fish, polluted water and a large build-up of phormidium were all concerning matters, he said. The meeting will take place at the Temuka United Sports Clubrooms next Wednesday from 7.15pm.

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- © Fairfax NZ News

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