Students join forces with coastal clean-up volunteers

Picking up rubbish as part of the Dunedin Coastal Clean-up at St Kilda Beach on Saturday are (from left) Maren Richter (23), Katharina Marino (24) and Ursula Monaghan (21). Photo by Peter McIntosh.
Picking up rubbish as part of the Dunedin Coastal Clean-up at St Kilda Beach on Saturday are (from left) Maren Richter (23), Katharina Marino (24) and Ursula Monaghan (21). Photo by Peter McIntosh.
Three University of Otago exchange students were straight in to their work on Saturday, but not at their study desks.

Katharina Marino and Ursula Monaghan, from the United States, and Maren Richter, from Germany, were among the many people who took part in the Dunedin Coastal Clean-Up.

The event was based at the St Kilda Surf Life Saving Club. People were encouraged to pick up rubber gloves and a plastic bag from the club and pick up rubbish from a beach of their choice.

Miss Marino, from Dallas, Texas, said the event was a chance for University of Otago students to lend a helping hand in the city. She arrived recently for the start of the first semester.

‘‘We just got here, so it's a good way for us to see things and contribute something.''

Miss Richter, from Darmstadt in Germany, said she had a vested interest in keeping the city's beaches clean.

‘‘I study marine sciences, so I see what the garbage in the oceans does.

‘‘It's a good thing to just help out and raise awareness for other people, as well.''

The trio, who collected rubbish from the St Kilda area, filled the equivalent of two 60-litre rubbish bags in two hours.

While they had expected more rubbish, they were surprised with some of the items they found, particularly a large amount of used fireworks, Miss Richter said.

Beer bottles and cans also featured prominently among the rubbish, the students said.

Our Seas Our Future Otago regional co-ordinator Noel Jhinku said between 30 and 40 people took part in the event.

Seven 60-litre rubbish bags, two 240-litre recycling bins and half of a 240-litre glass recycling bin were filled, Mr Jinkhu said.

Other miscellaneous items found included a car tyre and two road cones.

Most rubbish was collected from the St Kilda beach and dunes, but some was collected from the Tomahawk beach and dunes, Blackhead Beach and Kure Beach at Brighton.

The Keep Dunedin Beautiful committee provided gloves and bags and helped transport recycling bins, while Solid Waste removed all general rubbish, Mr Jinkhu said.

Our Seas Our Future held about four clean-up days each year and hoped to begin collecting data soon on waste volumes and the types of rubbish found on Dunedin beaches, he said.

-damian.george@odt.co.nz

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