Frances Watling

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Beach Frances Watling - Rubbish Boy

Rubbish Boy

The East Cape of New Zealand, would you imagine, be a place that was little affected by the problems of rubbish in the oceans.  The population in this area of New Zealand is low, the towns are small.  The arrival of an ocean liner is an event in Gisborne, due to their low occurence.  Marine traffic for the logging trade would probably be outnumbered by recreational fishers; and while there are tourists this is not a place that compares with hot spot destinations around the globe.


However, in just two weeks before Christmas 2014 it was easy to collect enough rubbish to create 'Rubbish Boy.'  I spent ten mintues on a couple of the local beaches and every visit resulted in a collection of bottle tops, plastic bottles, wrappers, toys, lighters, shoes, string, pens, balls, fishing line, cans, etc etc etc. It seems so unlikely when you look at the picture of this beautiful beach, that this quantity of rubbish is just lying around.  I guess it is so easy to look past it and not stop to collect a little bit each time we visit. And so it slowly accumulates without us really noticing perhaps.  If we can't see the big stuff then is there any hope that we will gather up the smaller, less visible plastic fragments and microbeads that float about like soup.  When I returned to this beach recently, during Autumn, the beach had undergone one of its transformations.  With storms passing through the sand shifts and the channels in the sand change.  I also noticed that the rubbish collecting on the beach was different.  Far more small fragments were scattered on the water line.  This pieces of plastic are distinctive dues to the artifical nature of their colouring but being so tiny they are even easier for us to overlook.


So what then does this say about the overal problem? If such a remote corner of the world, facing southern Chile and the Southern Ocean, is still collecting this quantity of rubbish.