In a Facebook post, a WATSAN spokesperson said as part of the small anti-beach litter initiative members of the Solid Waste Management Committee are running, the organisation was making a weekly survey of the same stretch of foreshore along Nikao Social Centre beach to start quantifying data on beach litter.
The data will be used to inform waste management policies and monitor further action on combating littering as the initiative progresses.
Waste programme coordinator and Volunteer Services Abroad worker Hilary Boyes and her visiting family did the first survey and came back with 21.6kg of rubbish. The haul included 3.1kg of used disposable nappies, 1.5kg of plastics material and 10.1kg of glass. There were also 1.2kgs of paper and cardboard, 1.5kg of aluminium and tin food cans and 4.2kgs of non-recyclable waste.
The TV, vacuum cleaner and stove were the most surprising finds, lending weight to the theory that most of the waste left on beaches is dumped by locals. Many of the items that had been left to litter the beach are in fact accepted by General Transport for collection, but for a fee.
A local resident who asked not to be named, said the Social Centre had always been a problem area for rubbish. The problem had become so bad that Nikao MP Aunty Mau had ordered the removal of rubbish bins from the area, because people were filling them and overflowing it with their household litter.
However, when the bins had been taken away, people still kept dumping rubbish at the beach, which is popular with ever-growing numbers of locals and tourists. Earlier, the beach had also suffered problems for some time with sewage from Tereora College running from a broken processing plant to a drain at the foot of the airport runway and into the lagoon, the resident added.
“It seems that in spite of all the publicity about the need to protect our island, there are still some local people who don’t give a damn about their environment and keeping the island’s beaches clean.
“Last week I visited the Social Centre beach at the runway end and I was disgusted at the amount of plastic and other rubbish that I found strewn among the sand.
“I think the quality of the water that is trickling into the lagoon from the airport drain also needs looking into.”