'Downright lazy': Otago farmer calls out litterbugs on rural roads

An Otago farmer has highlighted the amount of rubbish being dumped from cars in rural areas and suggested the same people may be criticising farmers over their management of waterways.

In a video posted to Facebook, Stuart Cotton said he had cleared a load of rubbish from along the side of the main highway, adjacent to his farm and a creek.

"If you have a look where the road goes out of sight, less than a kilometre and I've managed to pick up all of this," he said.

"Now, what interests me about it, apart from people being downright lazy and not being able to pick up after themselves, throwing it out of the window of the car, is that here we have the road, and one, two, three, four, five steps to the fence and less than that to the creek, so it's less than ten metres to the creek."

He said the litter would pollute nearby waterways.

Stuart Cotton picked up rubbish thrown on the side of a main highway.
Stuart Cotton picked up rubbish thrown on the side of a main highway. Photo credit: Facebook/Stuart Cotton

"These people are quite happy to pollute and this stuff is going to end up in the creek."

He suggested that the litterbugs may be among people criticising farmers in the current debate over plans to tighten rules over freshwater.

"I wonder how many of them have been kicking up a stink about what's going on in the rural community as far as water quality goes."

"It just astounds me that people can be so lazy as to not to pick up after themselves, it's not that difficult to keep your rubbish and dispose of it in the proper manner when you get home or when you get to the next town."

Under the Government's proposed new freshwater policy, farmers and councils would be held responsible for freshwater quality.

It would see a cut in fertiliser use and pollution going into waterways, to protect urban streams, and improve protection for wetlands on both public and private land.

"If we don't fix things now they only get worse and will be more expensive to fix," Environment Minister David Parker said at the announcement.

"Cleaning up polluted waterways is a long-term challenge that will take a generation to fix, but the steps in this plan will make a real difference and get things heading in the right direction."

Public submissions on the freshwater proposals close on October 31st.