As part of the Infrastructure Cook Islands (ICI) WATSAN litter survey, where all the litter is collected from one small portion of Social Centre Beach each week, WATSAN decided to look at that exact question.
“We have been collecting the litter for 12 weeks now and documenting our findings on the TV, social media and the newspaper, and talking about it as much as possible, says Hilary Boyes, a VSA volunteer working at ICI.
“But the results just aren’t really changing.
“So I thought I would illustrate the findings in a different way to show exactly what we are leaving behind”.
The photo at the lower right on this page shows (from left) disposable nappies and wetwipes, glass, paper, aluminum cans, Gladwrap and other clear plastic, empty chip/icecream/pie packets, tin food can, plastic bottles and containers, other food containers and cutlery, cigarette packs and tetra packs, golf balls and miscellaneous items, plastic bags, and newspaper.
And it has to be remembered that this is from just a 100m stretch of beach from just one week, says Boyes.
“My hope is that if we all know a bit more about what’s in our litter it will give a bit more ownership to the problem. Like, that one bottle or wrapper or nappy you left behind – this is what it looks like when everyone else is doing the same”.
“We live on a really beautiful island and our lagoon is gorgeous, but if that much rubbish from all public beaches ends up in there each week, what will that mean for the future health of our island?
“I want people to start thinking about that.”