Volunteers step up for rubbish round-up

Monday October 07, 2013 Written by Briar Douglas Published in National

Hundreds of kilograms of rubbish were collected by volunteers during this year’s rubbish round-up events in Rarotonga.

On Saturday September 21, the Pacific Islands Conservation Initiative held a rubbish round-up in the Muri-Avana area, collecting 49 kilograms of rubbish that had not been disposed of properly. Of this, 25kgs could be recycled.

Volunteers who took part included representatives from KiteSUP, Pacific Resort and Pacific Divers, as well as other locals and some tourists from New Zealand. Rubbish collected ranged from the very small, such as cigarette butts, to the large, such as old cages. Nu and bananas were provided for the volunteers, sponsored by Pacific Resort.

Another event was held on Saturday, September 28 at Avarua Harbour.

In total, 281.5 kg of rubbish was collected by more than 60 volunteers, and 99.5 kg of recyclables were sorted out.

CITC, New Zealand High Commission, and the Vaka Eiva paddlers all sent teams to participate in the event. CITC sponsored the event by providing nu and bananas for the volunteers.

A team from Pacific Divers came to clean underwater in the harbor – coming back on land with tyres, cans and bottles – and accidentally a baby moray eel, which was safely returned to sea.

On land, small waste such as candy wrappers, bottle caps and bits of plastic bags dominated the haul, along with a collection of flip-flops and one boot, an umbrella, an old briefcase, two old purses and lots of cardboard boxes. There was also an abundance of takeaway containers, smoothie and juice cups, plastic straws, and plastic bags.

PICI thanked the many volunteers who picked up rubbish, Matthew Rima from the National Environment Service for driving volunteers and the resulting rubbish bags around, and General Transport for picking up the rubbish from the collection site.

The Water Waste and Sanitation (WATSAN) unit of the Ministry of Infrastructure and Planning arranged the landfill fees for the collected rubbish to be waived.

Another 70kg of rubbish was collected at an earlier rubbish round-up at Blackrock on September 7.

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