RENA Update from Maritime NZ (166)
Thursday, 17 November 2011 11:00 a.m.
Before people head back down on the beaches this weekend, they are reminded that there are still clean up operations in place and weathered oil is still present on our shores, Maritime New Zealand (MNZ) says.
On Wednesday this week, MNZ lifted access restrictions from Tay Street to Maketū Estuary. Clean up restrictions remain in place on a stretch of Pāpāmoa beach east of Harrison's Cut to Alexander Place, and at Maketū Spit.
The National On Scene Commander restricted public access to the beach to allow oil spill response teams, some with heavy machinery, to work unimpeded on the most affected areas of beach.
"There is still some weathered oil in the water and on the beach, which may continue to resurface for some time," National On Scene Commander Mick Courtnell said.
"It is important for the public to understand that - if they choose to head down to the beach this weekend - things are not the same as they were, and they will need to take care."
Beach users and swimmers are advised to exercise caution, and avoid oil if they see it on the beach or in the water. The oil presents a minor health risk and children should be supervised.
MNZ and local councils are supporting the community 'Adopt-a-beach' initiative. This programme aims to mobilise Operation Beach Clean volunteers to maintain and monitor high-use areas of beach.
"This is a brilliant opportunity for the community to take ownership of the beach and make a huge contribution to its recovery. I encourage locals to get in touch and be part of the amazing volunteer effort we have seen so far," Mr Courtnell said.
- If you get oil on your skin, wash it off with soapy water. Contact your health professional if you have any concerns.
- Toi Te Ora Public Health Service advise the public not to collect shellfish, crabs, kina and seaweed. Further health information is available at www.toiteorapublichealth.govt.nz.
- The rahui put in place by iwi remains in place. This prohibits the collection of kaimoana between Bowen Town Beach and Maketū.
- Oil sightings should be reported to 0800 OIL SPILL.
- To join the volunteer programme and help keep a patch of beach clean near where you live call 0800 884 881 ext RENA (7362). For full details on the Adopt-a-beach programme visit the volunteer hub quick link at www.boprc.govt.nz.
- The navigational safety exclusion zone remains in place and boat ramps within the exclusion boundaries - Pāpāmoa East, Bell Road and Maketū - remain closed.