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Ten years cleaning up Auckland’s waterways

10 years

Today longtime supporters and friends of ours, the Watercare Harbour Clean-Up Trust, celebrate ten years of improving the health of the Waitemata Harbour and Auckland’s waterways.

Established on 6th December 2002 by salty legend Hayden Smith, he and his team work all year round to remove rubbish from Auckland’s Waitemata Harbour and inner gulf islands. The crew travel the harbour on their boat The Phil Warren, scooping up plastic bottles, food wrappers, tyres and other trash from the city’s waterways. They also remove rubbish from Auckland’s shorelines and beaches, as well as in estuaries and mangrove areas using sea kayaks and a flat-bottomed punt.

Watercare’s Wastewater Operations Manager and Harbour Clean-Up Trust Contract Manager, Mark Bourne, says the Trust has removed a staggering 3,135,000 litres of litter from the Waitemata Harbour since its inception, equivalent to over 105 full shipping containers. “Ten years of operations is a landmark achievement,” says Mr. Bourne. “Since the Trust was established, the Harbour Clean-Up crew has collected over 24 million individual pieces of litter from Auckland waterways, based on an average of 8 individual pieces of trash per litre. These are astonishing numbers, and on the ten year anniversary it’s timely for us to pause and think about what the Trust has achieved, and to thank everybody involved for their ongoing efforts to help keep the harbour clean and beautiful.

“Ten years ago, Watercare Services made the decision to offer its support to the Harbour Clean-Up Trust, and we are immensely proud of what the Trust has achieved during the course of the past decade.

“Maintaining healthy waterways and contributing to the sustainability of Auckland’s natural environment are core aspects of Watercare’s role in our community, so there’s a clear link between our company’s activities and the work being done by the Watercare Harbour Clean-Up Trust. Watercare is delighted to continue to provide assistance to the Trust now and in the future.”

Trust Chair Peter Drummond says their work in Auckland’s waterways has brought significant positive impacts for local communities, raising awareness of marine litter issues amongst schools and community groups and making a real difference to the environment. “The Trust relies on substantial volunteer support in its activities, and we would like to thank the many individual volunteers who have pitched in and lent a hand during the past ten years,” says Mr. Drummond. “The Trust couldn’t have achieved what it has achieved without volunteers’ support.”

Mr. Drummond says the recent commissioning of a new Watercare Harbour Clean-Up Trust boat is further exciting news for everybody involved. “We’re looking forward to launching a brand new, larger vessel in March 2013, which has been purpose-designed for marine rubbish collection use.

“The new boat represents a massive investment for the Trust, and while Watercare Services has been extremely generous in supporting our day-to-day activities and helping us fund the construction of the new vessel, we are also talking proactively with local marine equipment suppliers, service providers and other partners about corporate sponsorship opportunities. We are really keen to encourage Auckland businesses with an interest in maintaining the cleanliness of Auckland’s waterways to get involved.”

Founder Smith says “We are grateful to our sponsors Watercare for their continued support for this project. We are proud of our efforts to achieve such wonderful results for our local waterways. We are thankful for the increased community support from Schools, Community/Charity groups, Corporate entities and individual volunteers across the region. We are optimistic for a future that will see less rubbish entering the water through greater education measures and more trash being removed through increased service.”