Divers Take Anti-litter Plunge on 19 September

9 September 2009

Scuba divers are to take the plunge into Wellington Harbour just off Taranaki Street Wharf on Saturday 19 September to do their bit to help clean up coastal and harbour waters as part of Conservation Week (13 - 20 September).

Divers from Porirua-based New Zealand Sea Adventures will be scouring the harbour floor in the area in front of Te Papa and below the traditional berth of the floating crane Hikitia.

They are extending an invitation to local recreational divers to come and join in the fun - and help recover what's expected to be all manner of items from the seabed. The secondary purpose of the cleanup is to draw the public's attention to the state of our seas and encourage people to deposit their rubbish in waste bins rather than the sea.

Dive organiser Andrew Lett says the temporary absence of the Hikitia (it is undergoing its survey and maintenance at Lyttelton) means divers have more ability to scour around the seabed in the area and bring items to the surface alongside the wharf.

"We have cleaned up the lagoon nearby in the past - and we have also run several cleanups around the Wellington wharves and beach areas. The wharf areas have been a convenient way of getting rid of rubbish for decades, now some of that may be historically important. In the past we have found some pretty odd things like airport trolleys, ship's compasses, model boats, scooters, road marker cones and bicycles.

"We also think the big stormwater drain that empties out under the wharf might have deposited a few interesting items over the years."

The cleanup will start at 10.00am on Saturday 19 September. Splash Gordon, another team of divers, will focus on the nearby Frank Kitts Park lagoon, which tends to be the recipient of unwanted supermarket trolleys, road cones and the like.

Wellington Waterfront Ltd will help with the cleanup, as will GK Shaw, the contractor working on the repair of the Taranaki Street Wharf piles. Staff will be on hand with their lifting equipment to retrieve any heavier items.

For further details about Conservation Week activities, visit the Department of Conservation's website.