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Trash trouble2 min read

Mar 11, 2024 2 min

Trash trouble2 min read

Reading Time: 2 minutes
Visitors to the Waikaraka Park Cemetery have dumped rubbish in the spot where a well-utilised bin once stood (photo supplied)

The Auckland Council’s cost-cutting measure to remove underutilised rubbish bins from public spaces has sparked controversy in Onehunga.

Although the council has removed several less commonly used bins, some well used bins have been removed in certain public areas in Onehunga – Jellicoe Park, Countdown parking lot and Waikaraka Park Cemetery.

Sera Mata’uiau, a regular visitor to the cemetery, was shocked to find well used bins missing during a visit in January.

“I’ve been visiting the cemetery for 28 years, and the bin closest to the family’s plot, is probably the most used one in the area,” she says. “The removal of this bin has led to a surge in littering. In January, I found wilted flowers, tattered artificial plants, and uprooted weeds where the bin used to be. A month later, the rubbish was still there.”

“During my recent visit, I cleaned the spot and used a bucket from my car to dispose of the rubbish at a distant bin. I respect the area, so would never add to the dumped rubbish.”

Sera says, “A cemetery is where all the heroes are, and I don’t think they deserve to be treated like this.”

The removed bins at Countdown are also causing an uproar. Another resident, Laura Hulbert, says the repercussions of removing these bins will cause more litter in the town centre.

Manager Area Operations Howick and Maungakiekie Tāmaki Local Boards, Marcel Morgan, says the council removed nine bins from the cemetery, but there are still 11 bins remaining.

“We take pride in maintaining the cemetery to a high standard, and encourage visitors to use the bins provided to dispose of old plants, adornments and litter.”

Senior Administrator Parks and Community Facilities, David Xu, says that bins selected for removal were based on specific criteria, including proximity to each other, low usage, areas where users are likely to pack in/pack out their own rubbish, and neighbourhood parks receiving attention from residents.

Auckland Council’s initiative to remove 30% of the 10,000 public bins aims to save $1.4 million annually, with a completion target of 31st March.

The removed rubbish bins won’t be going to landfill either. Damaged ones will be recycled, and those in good condition, will be used as replacements.