On Thursday 5 March, Lower Hutt’s Lorraine Shaab was awarded Seaweek’s Ocean Champion 2020 title, sponsored by the New Zealand Coastal Society. The competition requires entrants to undertake a specific Ocean Challenge to help solve a problem in the marine environment. Lorraine will receive $500 to support her project.
Lorraine got involved with beach clean ups four years ago, and for the past three years she has organised her own frequent beach clean ups – Petone beach clean-up crew.
Her main concern is that several plastic manufactures in Wellington import nurdles, the raw material used to make plastic products. These granules are being spilt during production and transportation, contaminating our beaches. Two beaches are already heavily contaminated, one being home to blue penguins.
Lorraine’s Ocean Challenge is to bring awareness to the plastic pollution caused by these granules by informing the general public. Most people are unaware that these granules are ending up in storm water drains that flow into Wellington harbour. Lorraine says:
Ultimately, I want to stop these granules spilling at the source. That’s why I’m trying to create as much public awareness as possible to show everyone that it’s polluting our local beaches and causing harm. I’m hoping that making enough noise will get the ball rolling to make government take action.”
Lorraine is committed to putting more pressure on the plastic manufacturing industry to ensure granules stop entering our waterways. Her commitment to such an important cause is why Seaweek have chosen to award her the title of Seaweek Ocean Champion 2020.