Fox landfill spill a ‘disaster’

Pictured: Some of the Wastebusters crew have been to the West Coast to help with the clean up of about 5,500 tonnes of rubbish spilled from the unused landfill after a massive flood in March. Picture by Sue Harris/Wastebusters.

It has been eight weeks since a massive flood ripped through the Fox legacy landfill, spilling thousands of tonnes of rubbish through the Fox River, bush and coastline. The Department of Conservation (DOC) is running the clean up through Operation Tidy Fox, and some of the local Wastebusters crew have been volunteering.

Wastebusters’ Sophie Ward, who was there last weekend, said the volunteer operation was really well organised, with accommodation, lunch and dinner provided. 

“If you are thinking of going and have the time, don't hesitate. They need our help and it was actually a lot of fun.”

The landfill closed about 20 years ago, but the single-use plastics picked up by volunteers are still largely intact. Ward said she came across masses of grocery bags, bread bags, bin liners and straws, as well as single-serve butter containers and sachets. “There’s so much to do,” she said. “It’s a disaster.” 

The New Zealand Defence Force has promised personnel, vehicles and aircraft to help the DOC operation but it is a huge job and volunteers are still needed.

“Some of our crew who spent time volunteering at the clean up will be at the Waste Free Fair this weekend, so come along to find out more,” said Wastebusters communication coordinator Ruth Blunt.  

“We’ll also have lots of waste-free inspiration for those keen to keep single-use plastics out of their homes — and out of landfills.”   

“Beeswax wraps, produce bags, bulk bins and even the toy library are just some of the things we have lined up for the afternoon to help you reduce the amount of plastic you use —  and the associated resources and energy needed to produce it.”

The Waste Free Fair is this Sunday, July 14, from 1pm to 4pm at the Lake Wanaka Centre.


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