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Beach Cleanup at Rangitoto Island

Saturday 6 June 2015

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Saturday 6th June proved to be a beautiful sunny day for the CCANZ trip to Rangitoto Island, which is situated in the Hauraki Gulf Auckland. Twenty-five adults and children eagerly boarded the ferry for the twenty-five minutes trip, to do our part in a beach cleanup there—many of us proudly wearing our newly printed CCANZ T-shirts. Ryley Webster, who was present with us, is a founding member of Sustainable Coastlines organisation. He was the speaker at one of our recent Positive Living series events and we were keen to help him in his work. The mission for Sustainable Coastlines is to inspire, educate and enable people to look after the places they love. Part of this is “Love your coastline.” As a charitable organisation they are therefore passionate about keeping the coast and ocean free from plastic, and inorganic rubbish. Ryley was therefore very happy to accompany us on this trip and guide us.

Upon arrival he spoke and showed us the type of non-biodegradable rubbish we were likely to find; how to place any sharp pieces of glass or metal in a plastic bottle he provided; gloves to use, and large white woven rubbish bags. We then all followed part of the coastline stopping whenever necessary picking up rubbish. Amongst the rubbish collected were many lollypop sticks, coloured plastic string, thin plastic ring bottle tops (the ones which sea birds manage to get around their necks and strangle themselves) and tiny polystyrene beads. Much of the rubbish was swept in by the currents into corners in the rocks on the coast, but with a bit of prodding we also located more glass, partly degraded plastic bags, large pieces of polystyrene and other debris. In just one hour we had accumulated 4-5 large bags full. The children particularly enjoyed this “treasure hunt” for rubbish, calling out. “Look what I’ve found.” These bags of rubbish were taken back to Auckland where they are sorted into categories and placed in the appropriate rubbish containers.

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As the weather was so idyllic some of the group decided to remain on the island, to take the journey to the summit, whilst others explored the ecology, or took their own tour of the historic batches (holiday homes), which are well maintained by the Historic Conservation Island trust.

All those who attended enjoyed this small, but worthwhile activity in helping the environment, whilst also having fun on a beautiful sunny winter’s day.

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