Water bottling plant protesters scatter plastic bottles over Mt Maunganui Beach

More than 2000 plastic bottles will be put on a Bay of Plenty beach on Sunday afternoon.

It's part of a protest against water bottling in the Whakatāne region, after a nearby plant was given the green light to operate all-day, six days a week.

Spokesperson Heidi Hughes says the protest is symbolic.

"We just want to see what it looks like, because that's the amount of bottles that can be produced by this new Otakiri plant every minute."

The Cresswell NZ plant is owned by Chinese company Nongfu Spring, which has denied the claims. Managing director Michael Gleissner told NZME the number was "grossly exaggerated", and the plant would not run 24 hours a day.

Nongfu Spring been given consent to expand its operations. Crowdfunded group Sustainable Otariki is challenging the permit in the Environment Court.

Two more bottling plants, owned by others, are planned in nearby Murupara.

Hughes says the Cresswell NZ expansion will put extra trucks on the roads.

"In their material, it says they will have 200 truck movements per day - that's a truck and trailer every three minutes. We're really, really congested [already]."

The protest on Omanu Beach begins at midday. Hughes says there are still several issues to discuss.

"Who owns the water... the environment and downstream impacts these new industries are creating for communities."



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