Rubbish dumped in polluted pond

Howick ward councillor Sharon Stewart says more needs to be done to remove pollution from the city’s waterways, including the pond in Lloyd Elsmore Park, Pakuranga. Times photos Chris Harrowell

The sight of rubbish floating on the surface of an east Auckland pond visited by families and children is being labelled “absolutely disgusting”.

That’s the view of Howick ward councillor Sharon Stewart, who’s calling for more to be done to tackle pollution in the city’s waterways.

After hearing of the rubbish in the pond at Lloyd Elsmore Park, Pakuranga, Stewart phoned the council’s pollution call centre, and then a council official, who got contractors to remove it.

“They scooped out a black bag that had something in it,” she told the Times.

“The photos on Facebook were absolutely disgusting.

“People are dumping rubbish into the pond and there’s probably a lot of stuff down on the bottom we can’t see.”

Stewart describes the pond’s water as “toxic”.

“There’s lots of ducks around on the grass but not many on the pond.

“They’re here because they get fed but a lot of them don’t want to go into the water.”

On the day the Times visited the pond there were hundreds of ducks on the grass around it but only about 20 or so on the water, which appeared to have a layer of pollution on its surface.

Stewart says water in the pond flushes into a stormwater manhole.

Any rubbish in the pond then “flushes into our streams, which go through different catchment”.

“If we were keeping on top of the problem we wouldn’t have as many issues like this,” she says.

“Every now and then it [the pond] may need to be flushed.

“If it had been looked after and treated properly the whole time we wouldn’t have these issues.”

Rubbish was recently seen floating on the surface of the pond in Lloyd Elsmore Park, Pakuranga.

Stewart says she’s learned of a Japanese scientist, who she wants to contact, who cleaned a polluted lake in Canada.

“He sprays a solution all over the lake and the pollutants come to the surface and they absorb into this stuff that’s like a gel,” she says.

“It might cost a lot of money, but in the long run for the Government and local-government to do something like that I think it will be for the benefit of the environment.”

An Auckland Council spokesperson says the pond in Lloyd Elsmore Park will be added to a monthly ‘inspect and clean’ list as well as being “cleaned on a reactive basis”.

Council Healthy Waters specialist William Twomey says the council’s water quality targeted rate provides investment for new stormwater infrastructure and initiatives to reduce wastewater, sediment, and other pollutants contaminating the city’s waterways and marine environment.

“This includes monitoring and investigations in our streams, watercourse and stormwater network to identify contaminants and track them to their source.

“The council encourages people to phone 0800 NO DUMP (0800 663 867) to report illegal rubbish dumping anywhere across Auckland including in waterways.

“Offenders caught illegally dumping rubbish will be ordered to remove the rubbish and may be issued with a fine of up to $400.

“Serious offenders may also be prosecuted under the Litter Act 1979 with a maximum penalty of $30,000.”

People can report pollution issues in Auckland 24 hours a day on 377 3107.