The highly motivated team of 33 from Roche Diagnostics joined us on 23 February 2017 and got stuck into the well know litter spots of Rangitoto Island, in our beautiful Hauraki Gulf. Roche Diagnostics did a great job of organising the large crew, and by 9am the volunteers were lugging tables, sacks, food, water and much more onto the Fullers ferry in downtown Auckland.
By 10am the group was gathered at Rangitoto’s tourist shelter where Sustainable Coastlines’ Ryley Webster, and Camden Howitt, delivered a review of the causes, problems and solutions to plastics in our oceans. It was emphasised that people often don’t make the connection between dropping rubbish on the mainland and it eventually ending up on the beach, or worse, inside wildlife and into our food chain.
Following a health and safety briefing, the team split in two, with one group, lead by Sustainable Coastlines’ Te Kawa Robb, heading east toward Islington Bay while the other headed west along the bach-fronts with Camden Howitt. With the nesting season for the resident black-backed gull population over, and the event starting just before low-tide, the teams were able to access all the coastline to remove the large amounts of plastic waste in a short period of time.
The groups both did amazingly well, picking up a staggering number of small pieces of plastic. Rangitoto catches the full force of Auckland’s rubbish problem and this became very evident as the morning passed. In amongst the large amounts of single-use plastic items that are always evident on Rangitoto, there were a surprisingly large number of strange items found throughout the morning – bait and ice bags, sunhats and toys. Perhaps an indicator of Aucklanders summer habits.
After a couple of hours of heads down under the hot Auckland sun, broken up with water breaks in the shade, everyone headed back to base for a well-deserved lunch. The teams were treated to a first for our Rangitoto Island clean-ups – a delicious spread of Mexican food prepared for us by the Mexicali team. The tortillas with beans, beef and salsa were a real hit with the team who had certainly worked hard for their lunch.
Following lunch, a number of the Roche Diagnostics team went for a short walk around the Kōwhai Grove loop track. Before photos were taken and the ferry was boarded, the rubbish needed to be audited. Without being asked, everyone came forward to offer help with the audit – a really important task to help us collect valuable data and to track any changes in the composition and volumes of waste.
We want to send out thanks for to the awesome team from Roche Diagnostics for their efforts on Rangitoto. Auckland, and indeed, the whole world needs caring corporates like these guys and we can’t wait to see them again next year.