Tourist told to throw debris back in ocean

Monday September 02, 2019 Written by Published in Economy
Rudy Aquino attempts to lift the heavy ropes. 19090101/ 19090102 Rudy Aquino attempts to lift the heavy ropes. 19090101/ 19090102

A large mound of plastic ropes was dragged in from the reef in Turangi by a family of tourists after they discovered the debris caught in the reef while they were walking down the beach.

 

Tropical Sands Accommodation owners Rudy and Kanoe Aquino were unable to cut it loose from the lagoon when it first drifted in but with help from their guests, the deteriorating mass of plastic ropes was brought ashore.

Plastic rope and small net pieces are composed of synthetic material like polypropylene and nylon.

Kanoe had called National Environment Service to ask how they could dispose of the bundle of ropes – and they had told her to put it back in the ocean. It is thought officials mistook it for a fish aggregation device.

Kanoe then called the Ministry of Marine Resources who said they would come collect it to dispose of the ocean debris properly.

Kanoe said the currents bring in debris quite often – but not piles as huge as the bundle of ropes they found. “It’s terrible.”

Almost every morning Kanoe and Rudy walk along the beach to pick up any rubbish that may have drifted in.

Marine debris is harmful to marine life including to species of birds, sharks, turtles and marine mammals.

Concerns were then raised from whale researcher Nan Hauser who said a baby whale was recently cut from plastic rope debris.

Litter can travel in the ocean from anywhere so it’s hard to tell where the debris came from.

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