September 28, 2022
Litter traps reveal plastic onslaught
Northland Regional Council has been auditing what goes through its stormwater system – and finding alarming levels of plastic.
Coastal scientist Richard Griffiths says it attached off the shelf LittaTraps to drains not just around Whangarei but in Mangawhau, Dargaville, Paihia and Kerikeri as well.
He says more than 70 percent of the rubbish was plastic, including more than 7000 cigarette butts.
“I was expecting we’d find more plastic drink bottles or food wrappers, fast food containers, that kind of stuff, but what we’re actually finding is lots of small pieces. You can go to a street and it looks quite clean but if you look closely at the kerbside there’s lots of smaller litter and plastic and of course the next time it rains that will get washed into that stormwater system,” he says.
His team intends to put some of the traps on or near schools and work with the children to start the education about what should or shouldn’t go into drains.