Grey skies and scattered showers didn’t stop Mayor Phil Goff rolling up his sleeves on Saturday 10 February at a community event in Otara aimed at curbing illegal dumping.
Neat Streets, an event organised by the Otara Waterways and Lake Trust and supported by the Otara-Papatoetoe Local Board, took place at Flinders Place Reserve. The event put illegal dumping in the spotlight, giving residents a chance to dispose of inorganic rubbish while learning how to minimise waste of all kinds in their homes.
Mayor Phil chatted to local residents and spoke with members of the Compost Collective, Pacific Vision Aotearoa and Love Food Hate Waste, who ran workshops, to hear about their programmes and how they can help reduce waste and illegal dumping. He also pitched in alongside volunteers to help sort the inorganic waste that was being dropped off.
“It’s great to see the community coming together like this to combat a serious issue,” says Mayor Phil.
“The impacts are huge for the people who live in areas that suffer from regular illegal dumping. We all need to take responsibility for our own waste and make sure we’re vigilant about reporting it to council when we see rubbish in the wrong place."
'A great learning opportunity'
Local resident Nadia Natua says she arrived early in the day with her sons to drop off some inorganic items, but she stayed to learn about composting, recycling and reducing waste.
“It’s a great learning opportunity,” she says. “I learnt a great deal about composting – I’m actually really excited to use these new skills.
“It’s not just about getting rid of rubbish today. It’s about growing as well. I love the idea of reducing rubbish – it’s a bit of a passion of mine.
“It can be a challenge but as these guys here say, the aim is for zero waste. I am aiming for that too. It’s a big task, but I’m aiming for it.”