Volunteers from non-government organisations, businesses, ministries and schools took part in the rubbish collecting exercise which started at 7.30am at Avarua Harbour.
Event coordinator Mathew Rima said they were pleased with the turnout from the businesses and government departments, including Rarotonga’s schools.
He said they were concerned at the nature of some of the waste collected during the clean-up, especially the polystyrene plates found near a popular night club in Avarua.
“This is obviously due to the food sellers selling their products at night. This is bit disappointing and we will be addressing this problem,” Rima said.
He thanked the supporters and partners who joined them in the clean-up drive.
“We are obviously producing a lot of waste which we have to be mindful of, because it is causing a strain on the island.”
WATSAN director Jaime Short, who led a team from the Infrastructure Cook Islands, said they were frustrated to notice a large amount of household rubbish littering public areas.
She said rubbish such as plastic bags, in particular, had huge environmental impact.
An update on the WATSAN Facebook page said their efforts had resulted in the collection of almost 200kg of rubbish.
General waste accumulated was 141kg, aluminum and tin cans (4kg), glass (41kg) and plastic (13kg). They also picked up items including a dumped motorbike, bicycle, an old stove, and a computer, among others.
“Amazing work to our team but completely horrifying how much rubbish we found. Most of this rubbish was found dumped down the bank in a small area near Black Rock,” the Facebook post said.
“There are about five televisions amongst the bags and bags of nappies, bags of loose rubbish, a big bag of what looks like soap and another one of the mini ovens we found at Blackrock!
“We went to check up on the second site, the Panama swamps that we want to clean up soon and it is a lot worse than we thought.
“What we can’t get our heads around is that a lot of the rubbish dumped is accepted by the free roadside collection rounds.”
Every year on September 15, volunteers and partners worldwide come together to rid the planet of trash – cleaning up litter and mismanaged waste from beaches, rivers, forests, and streets.
Publicity for World Cleanup Day says it harnesses the power of everyday people to achieve incredible things by joining together.
“Its beauty lies in cooperation and collaboration: building bridges between disparate communities, and including all levels of society - from citizens, to business, to government.”