I was invited to write a column for the monthly Ōtaki Today newspaper. My first column was published today: Waikawa bounty reveals the detritus of the human race. It feels good to be doing some published writing again.
Every day the tide gifts Waikawa Beach with a fresh scattering of its bounty: here is a plastic drink bottle, there a piece of rope. Rubber gloves, fishing glow sticks, plastic bags in every shape and size, and random bits of hard plastic dot the beach, along with the odd drink can or shard of broken glass.
And most days, at least one generous-hearted person will be out there with bag in hand, picking up what rubbish they can find, carting it off to the nearest bin.
Come the holidays though there’s a whole new burden of rubbish to be dealt with. Suddenly there are partly buried, often burned and broken bottles and cans. There are food wrappers, socks, paper or plastic plates, and sometimes even fiercely sharp metal knives and forks. Even though there’s a rubbish bin at every single beach entrance, for some people it’s just too much effort to pick up what they carried to the beach but no longer need.
The Beach Buddies grumble then redouble their efforts, longing for the holidays to be over, the visitors to go back to their own homes, and for the tide to be the sole delivery agent of the world’s rubbish.
When recent big tides and winds dumped an extra helping of detritus someone on Facebook put out the call for an even greater effort. Readers acted without hesitation to clean up.
These Beach Buddies take pride in our beach, and it makes a huge difference. You gain the impression it’s a well-cared for, well-loved place, because it is.
You have to wonder though just what is in the world’s rivers and oceans. How does it come about that dead possums, goats, sheep and even cows end up on our beach? Where do the plastic vehicle parts come from, the old computer stuff, the bicycle tires, and shoes? And don’t even mention plastic straws — they are a plague.
We’re proud of our Waikawa Beach Buddies who do a fantastic job keeping our beach clean. They should be commended for their dedication and hard work.
But how about we all do what we can to minimise our draw on the world’s resources, and reduce what we dispose of as rubbish? Can we all be Buddies and help keep this stuff out of the rivers and oceans in the first place?