© New Zealand Broadcasting School 2022

Local volunteers come together to tidy up land

Melania Watson
Over 40 volunteers attended the Mother's Day Waterways rubbish pickup on Saturday.  Melania Watson

A waterway rubbish clean-up was held in Sumner in respect of Mother's Day, where a group of locals came together to clean and tidy up our land.

Green Party MP Eugenie Sage spent two hours picking up rubbish along the water's edge of Windsurfers Reserve in Bromley, and was pleased to see a big turnout at the clean-up event. 

"Every single bit of rubbish that they picked up stopped it going into the estuary and into the ocean, and more importantly, stopped it becoming a major cause of sickness for our seabirds, fish and marine mammals," she said. 

Sage said it was upsetting to see people weren’t picking up after themselves. 

“Children that have come along are really interested, and are planning to come back to these places, so it’s really a way of connecting with nature. This work is also about connecting with Papatūānuku, so loving nature means that people protect it,” said Sage. 

Event organiser Tanya Jenkins was upset to see the state the land was being left in. 

She said in recent data they found 60 percent of rubbish was food packaging. 

“We are finding chip packets, cans, and bottles, which indicates that a lot of people unfortunately are snacking while driving and throwing it out the car.”  

Jenkins hopes that as time goes on, people will learn to take better care of the placement of rubbish. 

“We really believe that with a bit of awareness and education we can minimise the amount of rubbish we are finding.” 

The event was held by Conservation Volunteers New Zealand who worked alongside the Christchurch City Council. 

Professor Islay Marsden, a leader of the project, said some of the rubbish they were finding was appalling. 

“People spent nearly the whole of the two hours just collecting cigarette butts along the water.” 

Clean-up volunteer Graham Phoenix was happy to see so many volunteers willing to work together, to clean up all the rubbish. 

“Seeing so many people who have turned out has made me realise there are so many people who do care for our environment.” 

CVNZ hopes to see the turnout of volunteers continue to grow at their upcoming events.