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Councils Applauded for Greenwaste Initiatives
Jul 6, 2005

National Weedbusters coordinator, Carolyn Lewis, says that ensuring safe greenwaste disposal can be a major hurdle for community groups willing to put their time into removing weeds from gullies and reserves, but often without the means to transport weeds to a suitable disposal facility or the resources to pay tipping fees.

“The effort now being made by many regional, district and city councils in assisting with safe greenwaste disposal for weedbusting projects is impressive,” Ms Lewis says.
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“We have a growing list of local authorities who go the extra mile to provide safe greenwaste disposal facilities for community groups tackling weeds in their areas,” she says.

The latest initiative applauded by Weedbusters is the effort by Manukau City Council, working in conjunction with Auckland Regional Council and private greenwaste contractor, Greenfingers, to support efforts by the Friends of Mangemangeroa to clear invasive weeds from this reserve. Greenfingers is providing weed bags for the project, and Manukau City Council is taking care of the collection and disposal of the weeds deposited in them.

Ms Lewis says members of the public who use Mangemangeroa Reserve are encouraged to weed while they stroll, tackling such species as climbing asparagus and wild ginger and then disposing of the weeds in weed bags provided at the entrances and exits of the reserve.

Manukau Parks Manager Digby Whyte says the Council has been delighted to support the Friends of Mangemangeroa to facilitate wider community care and enjoyment of the reserve.

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“It can be very rewarding when members of the community become directly involved in caring for their environment and public open space. Gardening is one of New Zealander's most popular recreational pastimes, and there's no reason why this has to be confined to the home, when we all own some spectacular natural areas in the form of our public parks,” Mr Whyte says.

The wider issue of illegal greenwaste dumping also concerns those working with weeds, as it is one of the main ways that weeds start their spread into bush, wetlands and coastal areas.

Auckland Regional Council’s Weedbusters coordinator, Mike Harre, says people sometimes see the dumping of greenwaste as not being as serious as the dumping of other household rubbish, but in reality its impact into the future is much greater.

“Many serious environment weeds grow easily from dumped seeds, tubers, stem or root fragments, and the cost of controlling them, once they are established, is a rapidly growing expense that ratepayers, taxpayers and landowners have to bear,” Mr Harre says.

Research commissioned by Weedbusters in 2003 showed that less than half of those surveyed disposed of weed waste correctly.

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“Only 12% linked weed spread with the improper disposal of garden waste, while 61% were very likely or likely to report the dumping of garden waste in a public place,” Mr Harre says.

Weedbusters is an interagency organisation supported by the Department of Conservation, Biosecurity New Zealand, Federated Farmers, Biodiversity New Zealand, NZ Landcare Trust, Nursery and Garden Industry Association, NZ Biosecurity Institute, NZ Plant Protection Society, and all unitary and regional councils in New Zealand.

Weedbusters aims to ensure that all New Zealanders are aware of, and taking action to reduce the spread of weeds and their impact on the environment, economy and human health.