On April 28th, 2016 a team of 43 of the keen finance team from Lion Breweries gathered at the company’s head office on Napier Street, Auckland City for the beginning of what would be an exciting, educational and eye-opening afternoon. The team had signed up for a coastal clean-up event at Meola Reef in the Waitemata Harbour, lead by the experienced Sustainable Coastlines team.
The afternoon was kicked off with an informative educational presentation by Sustainable Coastlines General Manager Camden Howitt and international volunteer Lauren Gilbert. In this presentation, Camden addressed the causes of plastic pollution in our environment and the individual and collective solutions that are available to deal with it.
After the presentation, the team boarded a bus and set off for Meola Reef in the inner Waitemata Harbour. Meola Reef, a 28,000-year-old lava flow that originated from Mt. St. John in Remuera, was actually used as a landfill until the mid-1970’s, and now leachate can be actively seen seeping from the banks of the park.
After a health and safety briefing by Sustainable Coastlines staff, the team headed for the extended lava flow and spread far and wide. The mangrove trunks and pneumatophores surrounding the reef act like a plastic trap and much of the waste that flows over the reef at high tide is retained within this structure. This made for an exciting (yet muddy) time pushing through the lattice of mangroves to remove plastic wherever possible. The Lion team got fully involved with many enthusiasts coming out with mud up to their knees and all over their bodies.
It was an impressive haul in total with almost 2,200 individual pieces of rubbish including two car tyres, two boogie boards, numerous balls and toys and 830 pieces of food-related rubbish! Fairly concerning finding all of this right in the heart of Auckland, on an inner city reef.
One sentiment that seemed to resonate strongly within the Lion team was the surprise of how much rubbish was actually there in the first place. Rubbish on our coastlines is something that is often easily overlooked, but as soon as you slow down and look for it, it is easily found. The idea that we think about our waterways in one way (clean and green) but actually treat them very differently is a core message of Sustainable Coastlines and one that the team from Lion was happy to take in, take away and spread.
Sustainable Coastlines would like to give a huge thank you to Lion Breweries for their commitment to creating a better New Zealand through their effort out on Meola Reef.