Yay its summer, time to go to the beach for a swim or a paddle. For Cantabrians it’s good news. After previous concerns about water quality and whether our beaches were safe to swim in since the quakes, Canterbury beaches have been given the ‘all clear’. The latest Ministry for the Environment recreational water quality report says New Brighton, Sumner and Waimairi are rated “good”, or satisfactory for swimming in most of the time. The best beaches are Taylors Mistake, Spencerville, Woodend and Waikuku which rated “very good”.
Beach clean ups, like the recent one at Waimairi pictured above, have a profoundly positive effect on our beaches, particularly for the fish and bird life who call our coastlines home.
One organisation focussed on cleaning up New Zealand beaches is Sustainable Coastlines created by Sam Judd and James Bailey. The pair were motivated to start up the organisation after seeing first hand the impact rubbish had on marine life during a trip to the Galapagos Islands.
Since 2008 Sustainable Coastlines has organised volunteers to remove rubbish from coastlines around New Zealand and the Pacific, raising awareness about the challenges our marine environments face and giving people easy solutions for looking after our beaches.
One of their projects, Love your Coast, involved 5,500 people and resulted in tonnes of rubbish being removed from Kiwi beaches along with creating a free event planning tool to guide people running their own coastal clean-up. Such an event is a great idea for schools as it enables kids to gain first hand knowledge of the impact rubbish has on the environment and ways in which we can reduce this.
One particular Sustainable Coastlines campaign “What goes around comes around” beautifully illustrates the effect rubbish has on our marine life and how it affects what food we eat. The graphic above shows the cycle of pollution. When we litter it has a massive impact on ocean life with litter flowing through our drains out to sea, polluting waterways and ultimately affecting our seafood. Over time ocean waves and the sun break plastic into smaller pieces which float in the sea, accumulating chemicals. For sea life these fragments of litter look yummy and therefore get eaten, thus entering the food chain and polluting our seafood. In summary; we’re eating our own rubbish!
So let’s be vigilant about putting our rubbish in bins only or when we’re at the beach, take your rubbish home. That way you’ll get the maximum enjoyment out your summer and your local beach!