Eastland Port staff are helping look after Kaiti Beach this Sunday [26 August] as they take part in a nationwide beach litter data collection programme.

Staff are working with charity organisation Sustainable Coastlines on its crowd-sourced scientist Litter Project.

“We’re everyday Kiwis who love the beach and want to look after it so we’re doing something to help,” says Eastland Port infrastructure manager Martin Bayley, who along with fellow staff members is a passionate advocate of the nationwide environmental project.

“Enabling others is crucial if we want to look after waterways and the oceans so we’re encouraging others to come down and take part on the day,” adds Mr Bayley.

Sustainable Coastlines Litter Project Manager Sandy Britain couldn’t agree more. “Collaboration is crucial. You could say that tangata whenua are New Zealand’s original citizen scientists. They have the baseline knowledge – mātauranga Māori – on how our coastlines should be; litter-free.”

“Through this project, and by working with caring communities around the country, litter is a problem that we can – and will – solve,” he adds.

Kaiti Beach is one of over 100 beaches to have its litter analysed in the three-year Sustainable Coastlines project involving public around the country.

Litter from a 100m stretch on each participating beach is being collected, analysed and collated by locals so scientific data about New Zealand’s contribution to the global problem of marine pollution can be better understood.

Details on the quantity of rubbish found, it’s weight and type, are recorded and then fed into a national data base that will soon be available to the public.

“It’s great to be part of a national project like this as data is not readily available at the moment, particularly data from rural areas like ours,” says Mr Bayley.

“Plastics don’t biodegrade. They just get smaller and persist in the aquatic environment. This is a grassroots solution to litter in Aotearoa.”

The Litter Project will eventually form the basis of scientific reports to be shared with leaders and politicians who can help exact change at a national and international level.

Eastland Port staff received training on how to run The Litter Project at a trial run last month. The 100m stretch of Kaiti Beach being analysed runs from the end of Eastland Port towards the Gisborne Yacht Club.

Plastic Bay Free Tairāwhiti will run its monthly beach clean-up at Kaiti Beach at the same time. Citizen scientists and beach clean-up volunteers are invited to meet 11am, Kaiti Beach, Sunday 26 August.

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For more information visit http://sustainablecoastlines.org/litterproject/ or https://www.facebook.com/events/653645528354281/

Image caption: Eastland Port health and safety facilitator John Gordon was one of a number of staff who took part in The Litter Project data collection training at Kaiti Beach last month.

Image credit: Canaan Akuhata-Brown.