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RENA Volunteers urged to register (50) (1)

Thursday, 13 October 2011 11:00 a.m.

Volunteers who want to assist in cleaning up oil off the beaches following the stranding of the MV Rena are urged to register their names so teams can be organised.
The beaches have been closed to the public from 10am this morning.

So far the Maritime NZ response team has had 1500 people register on the web (www.boprc.govt.nz/oilspillvolunteers ), on the phone (0800 645 774) or at their local surf club to help with the beach cleanup.

Volunteers will be trained first before beginning a four hour shift, and trainers are being briefed this morning on how to manage the cleanup.
Tauranga Mayor Stuart Crosby said a limited number of people could be accommodated at any beach spot so the teams needed to be co-ordinated through the response systems.

"We know it is frustrating for local people, who are saying 'these are our beaches and we want to be able to look after them. People are going onto the beaches and trying to clean up themselves, but they risk further damage to the beach and tracking the oil into carparks and urban areas.

"They also bring in extra sand which is creating a bigger disposal problem than we already have. We need to co-ordinate this effort properly and we welcome the offers of help," he said.

Bay of Plenty Regional Council Chairman John Cronin said Bay of Plenty people loved their beaches and their frustration was understandable, but the dangers involved in the cleanup should not be underestimated.

Minister for the Environment Dr Nick Smith said he knew that local people would be wanting to clean up their beaches as soon as possible, but it was vital that the cleanup be done in an orderly manner to avoid even more damage to the environment. People tracking the oil into other areas on their shoes or equipment would only worsen the problem.

Volunteers who want to help need to bring their own gumboots and water or food but should not bring any of their own equipment, or bring children. Proper equipment will be provided.

Coast Care volunteers, Coastguard and Surf Club members will be out on the beaches warning people away unless they are part of an organised team.

ENDS   
      
For more information contact:

All media enquiries
0800 774 554
(0800 spill info)
Spill.media@mnz.govt.nz

International media call:
+64 27 812 7013  or  +64 27 815 4849  or  +64 27 820 4165.

Oiled wildlife
0800 333 771

General queries - & reporting sightings of oil on beaches or offering assistance
0800 645 774
(0800 OIL SPILL)

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