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Environment Service proposes ‘instant fines’ to curb littering

Monday 17 October 2022 | Written by Caleb Fotheringham | Published in Environment, National

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Environment Service proposes ‘instant fines’ to curb littering
Rubbish and glass picked up on Muri beach by visitor Karyn Bush on her recent holiday. 22101302

National Environment Service boss says rubbish on the beach is a ‘significant problem’ in the Cook Islands following a long-term Rarotonga tourist taking to social media to complain about litter. Caleb Fotheringham reports.

On Facebook page, Rarotonga Cook Islands Holiday Hub, Karyn Bush said she had been visiting Rarotonga since 2000.

“It’s heart breaking to see the beaches with man made rubbish spoiling this paradise,” she said.

“This is a beautiful place to visit, so let’s leave it in better condition than when we arrived.”

Bush said she had experienced more broken glass on the beaches than on previous holidays.

“Each day we’ve gone out from Te Manava and walked along to Muri and also gone out to the beach in front of the old Heritage. We’ve found broken glass, batteries, full glass bottles etc. Please just be careful when walking along the shores and pick up anything you find to dispose of.”

Bush said the rubbish was from tourists and locals.

National Environment Service director, Halatoa Fua said: “Littering and rubbish on the beach is a significant problem in the Cook Islands – together with waste in general.”

“It is one of the least appealing aspects of the Cook Islands International Visitor Survey. We encourage visitors and locals to bring this to our attention,” Fua said.

“We’ll continue to strengthen legislation and policy on littering through the development of specific regulations on ‘instant fines’. These are plans in progress.”

Fua said there was also a need for more awareness.

He said the Environment Service had made videos and factsheets on littering.

Cook Islands News tried to get in contact with Bush but was unable to reach her by the time this edition went to print.