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Thousands of plastic beads found on Milford Beach

Flagstaff Team

Beads and butts… Rosmini College boys cleaning up Milford Beach

Thousands, possibly millions, of plastic beads proved too much for a patient group of Rosmini College students and teachers at a clean-up of Milford Beach.

The most likely culprit was the nearby Wairau Estuary, raising suspicions businesses are not taking enough care, according to Takapuna North Environmental Coordinator Fiona Martin.

One student claimed it would be impossible to clean them all up, she says.

Another suggested “manufacturers should have filter socks on all their stormwater drains, so any spilled beads don’t get into the Wairau Stream.”

Nearly 30 students took part in the 27 November beach clean-up.

Vast quantities of lentil-sized plastic nurdles are used in manufacturing and can end up in oceans. They do not  go away, but rather break into ever smaller fragments in the sea, potentially entering the food chain.

The other most common items found on Milford Beach were hundred of cigarette butts, Martin says.

“Next year I will be looking to address water quality concerns in the Wairau Estuary, Lake Pupuke, and other small streams in the catchment that flow out to our beaches. 

“Our streams need to be protected and kept in pristine condition, not only for the aquatic ecosystem that lives within, but also having consideration to the impact they have flowing out into the marine environment,” Martin says. “The marine life mistakenly ingest the plastics, and various microplastics. Plus the cigarettes, and toxins leaching out of waste products into the water are actually toxic pollutants.”

This article originally appeared in the 20 December of the Rangitoto Observer.