Sustainable coastlines

New project aims to train ‘Citizen Scientists’ to protect their coastline, and to collect valuable data on the state of our beaches. 

Three-quarters of Kiwis live within 10 km of the coast1, and as an island nation, our relationship with the sea is a big part of our identity. It’s perhaps unsurprising, then, that so many of us are worried about the deterioration of our coastline, beaches and waterways.

If you want to do something about it, but don’t know where to start, the Sustainable Coastlines website can help. It’s run by a charity that, since 2008 has coordinated large-scale coastal clean-up events, educational programmes, public awareness campaigns and planting projects. They also support community groups to run their own events, and so far, have enabled 91,000 people to help clean up their coastline.

Sustainable Coastlines’ latest initiative is to build NZ’s first national coastal litter database, and to collect that all-important data, they’re training a new generation of Citizen Scientists.

Training workshops follow UN Environment Programme guidelines, and they’re being offered free to community groups, schools and iwi / hāpu. Teachers can also access curriculum-specific training, and all participants will be get ongoing support. If you’d like to become a litter-busting Citizen Scientist, contact the Sustainable Coastlines team here.

And here’s a tip – we can all become better protectors of our coast, even without the training. Simply try to incorporate the four ‘R’s into your daily life:

  • Refuse to create rubbish in the first place
  • Reduce the amount of waste you create
  • Reuse something again before you put it in the bin
  • Recycle what you can’t reuse


  1. Data from StatsNZ 


    Sustainable Coastlines

    Some of the 8,000 litres of litter from the Onehunga coastline