WATSAN battles stream of beach rubbish

Thursday June 28, 2018 Written by Published in Environment
Scenes like this are unfortunately a regular sight for WATSAN workers conducting a waste survey at the Social Centre beach. 18072733 Scenes like this are unfortunately a regular sight for WATSAN workers conducting a waste survey at the Social Centre beach. 18072733

Dealing with a stream of rubbish left behind by local residents using the Social Centre beach in Nikao has become a never-ending battle for the WATSAN team.

 

Their latest survey of the area found that in the week from June 15 – June 22, 4.6kg of waste was found, with glass dominating the rubbish.

WATSAN director Jamie Short says littering has become an unfortunate habit among some people.

“There are many who do not litter and many who pick up other peoples’ litter. It would be great to see a study done on the psychology of littering – why people do it and whether they have any thought processes when they throw a chip bag on the beach.

“The impact of littering is far-reaching too. (There are the) impacts on tourism and of course the economy if visitors stop coming here because the natural environment becomes too ugly.”

Short said WATSAN had come under pressure to return rubbish bins to the Social Centre area after they had been removed.

The bins had been taken away as they were being filled by people dumping domestic rubbish.

“That is not nice for those who want to enjoy the beach and the collectors who have to deal with it.”

“We have decided to trial the bins back in the area with a campaign alongside Cook Islands Tourism. However, if (the bins) don’t make a difference to the rubbish that is left in the area then they will once again be removed.

“People who look after the area are at their wits end about the rubbish being left there.”

Since the beach survey began in May of this year, the largest amount of rubbish left at the beach area was 21.6kg of waste which included 3.1kg of nappies, 10.1kg of bottles and 4.2kg of general waste.

And this didn’t include the TV, stove and vacuum cleaner that were also left behind.

After eight weeks, the amount of waste collected has totalled over 60kg.

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