Storm water traps help prevent rubbish pollution of the ocean

  • Hon Eugenie Sage

Today’s World Oceans’ Day announcement that eleven Foodstuffs Co-operative supermarkets will retro-fit litter traps in their stormwater drains was welcomed by Associate Minister for the Environment Eugenie Sage.

The traps are designed to be fitted under stormwater grates and into drains to prevent litter, cigarette butts, and other gross pollutants from entering waterways, by capturing them at the source.

“The announcement from New World’s parent company will help prevent tens of thousands of pieces of rubbish from polluting the sea each year via stormwater drains.”

“The world’s oceans provide 70 percent of the oxygen we breathe, regulate our climate, and are a major source of food and medicines.  We need to take better care of them.  An estimated 13 million tonnes of plastic leak into the oceans every year, according to United Nations’ reports. Once they break down into microplastics, they make their way into marine food webs.”

World Oceans’ Day is a day to celebrate the oceans, our connection to the sea, the significant role the sea plays in our lives and think about ways we can protect it.

“In 2016, students from Petone’s Wilford School organised the installation of litter traps in Jackson Street, after seeing the amount of rubbish at their local beach during a snorkeling trip. They installed two traps and counted 2,680 pieces of rubbish that the traps prevented from polluting the ocean over just 12 weeks.”

Eugenie Sage said small initiatives such as the one taken by Petone students help to make a real difference and inspire action from large companies such as Foodstuffs.

“Product designers, manufacturers and retailers who adopt circular economy principles can help to ensure their products are designed to reduce and avoid waste and litter pollution" said Eugenie Sage.