Summer is here and, for many Aucklanders, that means a lot of living is done out on the water – enjoying the Hauraki Gulf and the harbours, islands, beaches, and bays around the Auckland region.
As we become increasingly aware of the impact of waste on our oceans and waterways, Auckland Council is appealing to summer boaties and leisure craft users to be waste-wise on the water.
Top waste-wise tips for summer boaties
By planning ahead, boaties can minimise waste before heading out on to the water. Here are our top tips for being waste-wise in the Gulf this summer:
- Avoid single-use bottled water – fill up and bring reusable water bottles on your trip.
- Keep separate covered bins on board for rubbish and recyclables. That way it’s easy to dispose of your rubbish and recycling correctly when you get home or to one of the summer waste barges. Make sure all your litter, particularly plastics, makes it into the correct bin. This includes cigarette butts and fishing line.
- Remove any unnecessary packaging before you head to sea. Re-pack snacks such as potato chips, nuts, or dried fruits in a reusable container and leave the soft plastic packaging behind. Avoid plastic wrap by wrapping your sandwiches in reusable beeswax wraps or storing them in a reusable container.
- If you see rubbish floating by, scoop it out of the sea, even if it's not yours. It’s just one of the things you can do to support the Band Together Campaign and Be A Tidy Kiwi.
- Fish heads and frames have a lot of food on them. If you don't want them, give them to someone who does! Head to Free Fish heads NZ to find out more.
- Fish with reusable lures and hooks. Try to avoid using homemade, single-use lures, made with soft plastics.
- Save your shellfish or fish scraps to make your own berley, rather than buying in a plastic bag.
Caring for our coastlines
Talking to Camden Howitt, Co-Founder and Coastlines Lead of Sustainable Coastlines, they have identified a list of top offenders found during their coastal clean-ups in the ocean, and on beaches and estuaries. Howitt encourages Aucklanders to especially take care in disposing of these items, which they have dubbed ‘The Filthy Five’:
- Plastic of unknown origin (22.9 per cent). These are bits broken down over time at sea/on the beach, to the point where the product they came from is no longer recognisable.
- Food wrappers and containers (13.5 per cent)
- Glass bottle pieces (8.8 per cent)
- Plastic bottle caps and lids (8.3 per cent)
- Polystyrene and foam (7.3 per cent)
Some weird and wonderful things also show up during the cleanups, according to Howitt.
“Over the years, we have found almost everything imaginable on our beaches. From dentures to messages in bottles, to a brass artillery shell, to loads of asbestos. That said, the most concerning and damaging items are also the most common: over 75 per cent of what we find are single-use plastic products.”
“It's up to all of us to protect this place we love. We encourage people to do their bit to put waste in its place, keep plastic out of our oceans, and make sure our beaches are litter-free, the way they should be,” says Howitt.
You can read more about Auckland Council's summer waste barge services on our Make the Most of Waste website.