Waitaki not Keeping New Zealand Beautiful



In 2019, the Keep New Zealand Beautiful organisation carried out a litter survey in consultation with Statistics New Zealand, the Department of Conservation and the Ministry for Environment - across all council areas in New Zealand. A total of around 6,000 square metres in each district was surveyed, with a mix of urban and rural sites across districts including industrial, railways, retail, residential, public recreational spaces, roadsides and carparks, with a minimum of 5 sites being audited in each territory. The findings have been a huge disappointment to Mayor for Waitaki Gary Kircher, who today said he was saddened to see Waitaki  had scored comparatively poorly, significantly higher than other districts  in terms of the number of items collected per 1,000 m2 surveyed (185) compared to say Hurunui (61) or Selwyn district, (65).

Mayor Kircher said Council would be taking up Keep New Zealand Beautiful’s offer to support Waitaki in organising a community- and council-led clean up event to assist tackling local litter issues and exploring ways to better educate and provide clean up resources. “We pride ourselves on being a clean, green country and we’re just not living up to that ideal. The litter problem is an area where we can definitely make some improvements.”

In Waitaki the total area surveyed was 6084 m2 resulting in 185 items of litter per 1,000 m2; the weight of litter per 1,000 m2 was 0.55kg. Industrial sites were associated with the highest numbers of litter items, largest litter weights and highest litter volumes per 1,000 m2. Retail sites contributed to the second highest numbers of litter items, litter weights and litter volumes in the region. Residential sites were associated with low to moderate numbers of litter items and volumes, and moderate litter weights. Carparks contributed low to moderate numbers of litter items and were associated with small to moderate litter weights and volumes. Public recreational sites contributed to low numbers of litter items, small litter weights and small litter volumes per 1,000 m2. The litter included such items as cigarette butts, vaping canisters, paper and cardboard, glass and plastic. 

Waitaki District Council Parks department spends around $44K per annum to service 102 litter bins emptied at various frequencies. Waitaki Roading also provide bins, currently spending $230,000 per year on urban litter collection, with 120 litter bins located throughout the district, most getting emptied 5 times per week as part of the roading maintenance contract.

“Littering is abdicating personal responsibility,” said Mayor Kircher,  “and although we have plenty of rubbish bins in Waitaki, unfortunately we can never cover every place. I was pleased to see the study showed council-controlled areas such as parks were being well maintained by staff and contractors, however, this is really an issue of people being happy to chuck rubbish out their car windows, or on the ground, casually ruining our environment – it’s the height of selfishness, especially compared to all the good folk who make an effort to pick up litter when they see it. It is time for us to work with Keep New Zealand Beautiful to help more of us take pride in Waitaki and in our environment.” ​

Related link: National Litter Audit Report 2019​

Page reviewed: 30 Jan 2020 2:00pm