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Te Ipukarea Society: Muri shoreline saviours scoop up 52 bags of rubbish

Saturday 6 July 2024 | Written by Te Ipukarea Society | Published in Environment, National

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Te Ipukarea Society: Muri shoreline saviours scoop up 52 bags of rubbish
Muri shoreline received a thorough clean in recognition of World Oceans Day. TIS

The 6th annual Muri Lagoon Beach Cleanup took place last Saturday, marking another successful year for this fantastic community event.

Organised by Muri Environment Care in collaboration with Te Ipukarea Society, Infrastructure Cook Islands, and the Rarotonga Sailing Club. The annual event is a highlight in the community's calendar, in recognition of World Ocean Day.

This year, the event drew over 70 dedicated lagoon lovers, all eager to contribute to the health and beauty of Muri Lagoon. The diverse group, including both youth and experience, set out on a mission to collect rubbish from various locations including the Avana Stream, Avana Point, Motu Oneroa, Motu Koromiri, Motu Taakoka, and Muri Beach.

A heart-warming sight was families with young children addressing the issue of microplastics. Although sometimes not clearly visible, microplastics are very harmful to both marine life and humans.

Equipped with kitchen sieves, these young environmentalists sifted through the sand, carefully removing tiny particles. In the first few annual beach clean-ups, items such as old motors and large ocean debris were found on the outer edges of the motu. Now these items have been removed, the focus has turned to smaller debris.

Adding a creative flair to the event, a Muri lagoon-inspired painting project saw kids using all the colours of the rainbow to create an art piece. This vibrant artwork canvassed the rich marine life found both below and above the water's surface, showcasing the lagoon's beauty and biodiversity.

After several hours of diligent cleaning, volunteers gathered at the Rarotonga Sailing Club to display their collected waste. They enjoyed a well-deserved sausage sizzle, generously sponsored by Muri Beach Club, while conducting a waste audit. The audit involved sorting the rubbish into various categories, providing valuable insights into the types of waste affecting the lagoon.

In total, 52 20kg flour bags sponsored by Avarua Bakery were collected, made up of 8 bags of plastic PET bottles, 2 bags of metal, 4 bags of aluminium cans and 4 bags of glass bottles, along with 34 bags of general rubbish.

Among the unusual finds were lost flippers, jandals, nappies, and even a toilet seat, highlighting the diverse nature of the litter retrieved. A small plastic toy dinosaur was also found. Attached was a note explaining the story and raising awareness for Ryan Shtuka who went missing in 2018 in Canada.

The event was made special by the generous support of local Muri businesses which donated numerous spot prizes. Congratulations to all the prize winners, and a heartfelt thank you to The Fix, Rarotonga Sailing Club, On The Juice Smoothies, Koka Tours, and Kitesup Night Paddle Tours for their support and contributions.

The 6th Annual Muri Lagoon Beach Cleanup was not just an environmental effort but a celebration of community spirit, creativity, and collective action towards preserving the natural beauty of Muri Lagoon for future generations.

We look forward to seeing you next year!