Waitemata Harbour clean-up increasing ahead of America's Cup

Efforts to keep the Waitemata Harbour clean are ramping up ahead of the America's Cup.

The City of Sails has not escaped the world's plastic problem and is likely to face increased pressure in 2021.

Auckland's harbour has a dirty underside. Scattered around the edges of the pristine waters is rubbish, and lots of it.

"Chip packets, lolly wrappers, drink bottles, polystyrene, car tyres. Today we even found plastic flowers today floating around," Sea Cleaners skipper Hayden Smith says.

Sea Cleaners' four boats are pulling out 160,000 litres of rubbish from our waterways every month. That's five full shipping containers.

"We've taken so much debris out of here that it is in a much better space and it's now it's more of the housework, the general maintenance we're doing," Smith says.

"But still, we are coming back with decent loads every day still."

The mouth of the Henderson Creek is the city's dirty little secret. Trapped among the mangroves are tyres, bottles and even entire bags of rubbish.

The problem won't be out of sight when the America's Cup contenders are foiling along the Waitemata Harbour in 2021.

More people near the water means more pollution and Sea Cleaners will be more than doubling their efforts with six new boats set to be on the water before the end of the year.

"We are certainly working towards having an increased presence during the America's Cup, at the moment we are still working through what we can do to help," Smith says.

But the professional sea cleaners know they'll never be able to pick up every piece of rubbish and are encouraging everyone to play their part.

Husband and wife duo Andrew and Paula are getting involved in the clean-up effort.

They've created a remote-control aqua drone which can be driven in and around boats. They're out most weekends doing their part.

Currently, they get no support for their efforts and they're hoping to get the attention of the Council and the event organisers to make it official.