Nov 24, 2017 - New Zealand, which since 1999 has described itself as “100% Pure” in its famous tourism tagline, is battling a rising tide of pollution, with 16 beaches in Auckland reportedly too polluted for swimming and critics blaming intensive livestock farming for making up to 60% of the country’s rivers and lakes unswimmable.
Sixteen Auckland beaches have been given the lowest grading possible, D, on the Auckland Council’s new water quality forecasting system – Safeswim: https://safeswim.org.nz/
Half of those swimming spots are in West Auckland, including popular Piha and Bethells Beach, according to Auckland’s Western Leader newspaper. The most common form of contamination is excrement – animal and human faeces.
The publication quoted an environmentalist who said he’d seen day-trippers defecating in lagoons.
“This happens especially in summer time when the public facilities are quite full, or at times are closed.”
Idyllic but controversial scene in Tourism New Zealand video
Recent Auckland Council reports blamed the problems on faulty septic tanks, along with faecal contamination from dogs, birds, and livestock, the publication said.
Auckland Council plans to invest NZD 6 billion over the next 20 years in wastewater infrastructure.
Meanwhile, cows are being blamed for polluting New Zealand’s waterways. Agricultural runoff, in the form of nitrates, adds to the problem. In an article headlined “Dairy farming is polluting New Zealand’s water”, the Economist magazine said “scrub where sheep once grazed is being given over to intensive dairy farms – some of them irrigated to help the pasture grow”.
The Economist said some 6.6 millon cattle are now “squeezed into the country of 4.7 million people, transforming even an iconic arid grassland, the Mackenzie Basin (made famous by the ‘Lord of the Rings’ films), into a tapestry of emerald fields”.
Waterways play a big part in New Zealand tourism campaigns, such as in the video below:
Greenpeace agriculture campaigner Gen Toop says farms are “overstocked with too many cows and that causes nitrate to leach down through the soil and into our waterways. The only way to have clean rivers and safe drinking water is to have fewer cows.”
Greenpeace advocates regenerative farming, a way of farming with fewer cattle and more diversity.
In August, New Zealand’s Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) ruled that the Tourism New Zealand promotional video (on YouTube above), which includes a scene showing a tourist about to drink river water, did not violate advertising rules.
Not all members of the ASA board agreed.
At one point in the video, a tourist cups her hand in the water and brings it to her mouth as if to drink. The shot cuts away before she does so.
Critics say drinking river water is unsafe in many parts of the country.
| Source: Global Travel Media Written by Peter Needham || November 24, 2017 |||