Waste and recycling operators are pulling out all the stops to support North Island communities in their clean up efforts following the Auckland floods and Cyclone Gabrielle.
WasteMINZ chief executive Nic Quilty said our thoughts are with those who have suffered devastating loss because of the cyclone. However, it was heartening to see the very real examples of people banding together to support each other.
“The examples of heroism, survival and whanaungatanga we’ve seen throughout this disaster has been humbling,” Nic said.
WasteMINZ members in the affected areas range from waste operators to councils to community groups. Many of them had been working non-stop since the Auckland floods in January, doing their bit to provide essential clean-up support for those in need, Nic said.
Operators and councils are facing issues such as the management of silt, a significant increase in the amount of waste, staff resourcing and expertise, and flooded or inaccessible facilities.
“This is a significant disaster, and already the resulting clean-up has shown itself to be complex. Like everyone in the affected areas, our members are facing power outages, road closures, silt build-up and landslides.
“Some of our members are struggling to access their landfill facilities, or in some cases, landfills and transfer stations are receiving an enormous amount of waste. Staff are not only dealing with these complexities, they are also dealing with their own personal challenges in the wake of the cyclone.”
With an increase of traffic and heavy machinery in the area to support the cyclone recovery, Nic wanted to remind the public, particularly those with small children, to be careful around the equipment.
The challenge now was to ensure that the clean-up could continue in earnest, while not overloading staff who are already stretched.
“This will not be an overnight fix. The clean-up will take time, and for many areas, BAU services, such as recycling and kerbside pick-up, may not be reinstated immediately. WasteMINZ is liaising with our members to provide support, and are meeting with agencies and waste operators daily to keep abreast of the situation.
“We ask for the public’s patience and understanding as we work through the very real challenges that arise from such a widespread disaster.”
For more information on how to clean up, go to the Civil Defence website. Follow your local council’s guidelines on how to deal with flood impacted belongings.