Dumpers in his sights

Rubbish dumper beware. Your time may be almost up. Stephen Sait is on a mission to clean up the beaches around Waitara and he is documenting the rubbish he finds. And some of it may be traceable to its owners.

20070716-Dumpers-In-His-SightsNorth Taranaki ArticleMr. Sait moved back to Waitara from Western Australia late last year. There he belonged to a group called Tangaroa Blue - something he would like to set up in Waitara. "Two friends would always pick up the rubbish at Murray River. There was a lot of fisheries stuff. There were dead seals and seabirds and turtles that had ingested too much plastic and died of starvation," he says.

Soon more volunteers joined the pair and the group started documenting what they found. "What we found is 70% of the rubbish is plastics," he sayd. Now there are 200 to 300 volunteers who help clean the beaches. Some of the rubbished has been traced back to illegal ocean dumping. After hopefully establishing a Waitara branch of Tangaroa Blue, Mr Sait would like to extend the scheme to the rest of the country's beaches. Friends are making 200 bags for the rubbish and there are Tangaroa Blue T-shirts for the volunteers to wear.

Mr Sait envisages the Waitara Beach could be eligible for Blue Flag accreditiation if it is kept clean and free from rubbish. He says most of the rubbish picked up so far is agricultural wastes, including a big container of diesel. "If we have enough support we may get a hit team to prevent people illegally dumping rubbish at the carpark, to get it before it reaches the beach," he says. Mr Sait has just been elected presidet of the reformed Waitara Bar Board Club. Anyone who is interested in supporting the clean venture can contact him on 0212310133.

Article by Liz St. George and featured in the New Zealand North Taranaki Midweek Newspaper (July 2007).