Caring for the environment  |  7 May 2020

An annual riverside rubbish clearing effort is adapting to lockdown life and staying close to home this year.

The Mother of All Clean Ups, which is held on the eve of Mother’s Day each year, usually involves volunteers from about 40 community groups joining together to clear tonnes of rubbish from river banks and the estuary edge.

Under Alert Level 3 this couldn't go ahead and, instead, the organisers are asking people to stay home and take part in a simple clean up activity around their own house and garden. They can do a quick check to make sure their gutters, spouting and  storm water drains are clear of leaves and rubbish and answer a educational questionnaire that will help them become "stormwater superheroes".

“The activity can be undertaken any time by kids or adults in their bubbles and is essentially an on-line audit of their property’s storm water set-up to raise awareness about how this impacts our waterways and what we can do to help clean them up from our own home,” says Evan Smith, a member of the organising committee.

“The information from the activity will be helpful when we look to find ways to address some of the pollution entering our waterways from residential sources, without having to rely on expensive infrastructure fixes.”

The organisers are offering people who take part in the online activity the chance to win one of 20 prizes, including $50 Trees for Canterbury vouchers, $50 book vouchers and $100 meal vouchers for Cassells Tannery.

You can participate now by visiting this link, and entries close Wednesday 13 May.

Mr Smith, Spokesman for Avon-Ōtākaro Network, says it’s great to be able to mark the event this year, even if it isn’t around the city’s waterways.

“We can still do our own little bit to ensure ‘only rain goes down the drain’ – without all the other rubbish and household contaminants with it.”

The Mother of All Clean Ups  is a collaboration between Avon Heathcote Estuary Īhutai Trust, Avon-Ōtākaro Network, Ōpāwaho Heathcote River Network, Conservation Volunteers New Zealand, Drinkable Rivers and Cassells Brewery with support from Christchurch West Melton Zone Committee, Christchurch City Council and Environment Canterbury.