Caring for the environment  |  8 May 2019

Hundreds of volunteers are banding together this weekend to remove litter from Christchurch’s waterways as part of the Mother of All Clean Ups.

More than 40 community and sporting groups, schools and businesses have signed on to take part in the clean-up, with each taking responsibility for cleaning up a different patch of waterway.

A duck lands on a river.

A clean-up operation on Saturday will target Christchurch's waterways.

Event co-ordinator Tanya Jenkins, from the Avon-Heathcote Estuary Ihutai Trust, says the amount of rubbish in Christchurch’s waterways and on riversides continues to be a major issue.

“It presents navigation and hygiene issues for recreational users and affects our enjoyment of the amenity. As a result of the advocacy of river care groups, river booms were installed at Dallington and Woolston in November 2017 and in the eighteen months since they have collected over 75 tonnes of rubbish – that’s shocking evidence of our collective irresponsibility.’’

“It is the duty of everyone to take care with litter,’’ adds Helene Mautner, of the Ōpāwaho Heathcote River Network. “Every cigarette butt thrown out a car window flushes into the stormwater system and ends up in the river.’’

Rowers from Rangi Ruru Girls’ School are among those taking part in Saturday’s Mother of All Clean Ups.

“The impact of plastic pollution on our environment is clear and evident. We don’t have much time before our damage is going to become irreversible, hence why Rangi has jumped on board with the Mother of All Clean Ups,’’ says Rangi student Sophie Pye, who is helping coordinate the school’s clean-up effort.

The Mother of All Clean Ups is a joint initiative of the Avon-Heathcote Estuary Ihutai Trust, Ōpāwaho Heathcote River Network, Conservation Volunteers NZ, and the Avon-Ōtākaro Network. It is supported and sponsored by Christchurch City Council, City Care Limited, and Cassells Brewery.