Campaigners concerned at extent of littering

Don't Chuck Your Muck anti-littering campaigners show some of the 250kg of litter they collected in Wanaka last week. Campaign co-founder Mandy Kain said the group wanted to change the attitude some people had towards littering before it was too late. Pho
Don't Chuck Your Muck anti-littering campaigners show some of the 250kg of litter they collected in Wanaka last week. Campaign co-founder Mandy Kain said the group wanted to change the attitude some people had towards littering before it was too late. Photo supplied.
Wanaka's clean image could be under threat unless people took responsibility and made sure their litter was disposed of correctly, anti-littering campaigners say

Wanaka residents Mandy Kain, Toad Innes and Annabel Elworthy have started an anti-littering campaign called Don't Chuck Your Muck, as a response to what they say is an increase in litter being left in public spaces.

Something needed to be done about the problem or else Wanaka and the surrounding area would lose its reputation as a clean environment, Mrs Kain said.

In two hours, the trio and 40 other volunteers picked up about 250kg of litter in Wanaka last Wednesday.

Glass, coffee cups, fast food wrappers and general waste made up the majority of the litter, but there was also a substantial amount of building material which had blown off building sites, Mrs Kain said.

The Queenstown Lakes District Council already did a good job keeping the streets and parks clean but it was the responsibility of everyone to keep Wanaka's public spaces free of litter, she said.

The group would organise other clean-up events but was focused on educating people rather than cleaning up after them.

''Our aim is to get people to be responsible for their own rubbish ... We really don't want to be picking up rubbish all the time. It won't solve the problem,'' Mrs Kain said.

The group would also talk to pupils at Mount Aspiring College and encourage them to be ''tidy Kiwis'', she said.

T-shirts and bags with the project's name printed on them would be sold to promote the campaign, Mrs Kain said.

One particularly distressing find was broken glass in the picnic area of Bremner Bay, Mrs Elworthy said.

''It's very sad to think young children cannot walk barefoot in places where they go to play and swim.''

More public areas would become unsafe if people continued to dump their litter wherever they wanted, she said.

Under the council's littering bylaw, people could be fined between $100 and $400 if they were caught littering. Anyone caught dumping building or gardening waste faced a $400 fine.

Council building services manager Stewart Geddes said provisions in the Building Code covered the safe removal of waste from building sites and all builders had to follow those.

He was unaware of any complaints about building waste blowing off building sites in the past year.

If people had concerns about material from building sites, they should let the council know, so it could be followed up by a council employee, Mr Geddes said.

tim.miller@odt.co.nz

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