Protecting our oceans from waste has been the focus of the Rotary Club of Tauranga Sunrise’s environmental program recently, installing drain socks on two major storm water outlets that drain into the beautiful Tauranga Harbour.
Club Director Michelle Beaton says the drain socks (sausage-shaped nets) were fitted over the two outlets towards the end of 2022, with the dual effect of stopping rubbish entering the water and also raising awareness with locals about the associated environmental risks.
“Stormwater washes off roads, driveways, paths and industrial areas, taking with it cigarette butts, oil and grease, soil, detergents, heavy metals, leaves, dog droppings and plastic bottles/wrapping,” Michelle says.
“Worldwide, something like 14 million tonnes of plastic reaches the oceans every year and it can kill wildlife. It takes centuries for the plastics to break down completely,” Michelle says.
While the drain socks don’t keep sediment or chemicals from entering the water, they are effectively stopping larger plastic items and other solid items getting through.
In line with the drain socks, Michelle says Rotarians are trying to educate the general public with an information board placed at each site and regular talks to community groups.
“We are reminding our fellow Tauranga residents to put their rubbish in bins provided or recycle where possible, wash their cars on the grass, take waste oil to the correct disposal point and support the council as they act to limit discharge of waste into the water,” Michelle says.
“It is our responsibility to act as guardians of the waters to ensure that what we pass to the next generation is not diminished but rather enhanced by our tenure.”