By Rachel Morton
As much as 300 tonnes of oil is now bearing down on beaches in Tauranga, and Transport Minister Steven Joyce has warned beachgoers to expect waves of it to keep coming ashore for days - or even weeks.
But the message from all the experts is still very clear: leave it to us to clean it up.
By late this morning the official cleanup response had begunm, but it wasn't soon enough for some Mt Maunganui residents who went to the beach early to begin their own clean up. They didn't care about warnings telling them not to.
Hilda Smith and her granddaughter picked up clumps of oil with a stick and placed them in circles for collection, but it's exactly what authorities don't want people doing.
"They can spread the pollution, they can trample it into the beach," says Alex van Wijngaarden of Maritime New Zealand, "which makes it that much more difficult. We would prefer them to phone us up and tell us where it is and we will send people after it."
Today has been the worst so far for wildlife and it's only going to get worse. But for some birds it's already too late.
The Department of Conservation spent the day patrolling the shoreline around Mt Maunganui, not just looking for birds but also checking on seals.
The cleanup is continuing on shore. The reality now is that it will soon needs to be cleaned all over again as more oil will come ashore.
source: newshub archive