Above: Image showing the new drain labelling.
Juan Qu has been out labelling street drains near her home in Aotea as part of the Mai uta ki tai – Drains to Harbour project. The project – a joint initiative by Porirua City Council, Te Rūnanga O Toa Rangātira and Wellington Water – aims to progressively label all street drains in Aotea, and eventually the whole city.
She got involved after finding out that anything tipped down some stormwater drains runs straight into the harbour. Juan adopted John Burke Drive and then moved further afield. “I labelled 10 drains last year and 20 recently, as the street was developing. I also dropped flyers in letter boxes as I was labelling the drains,” she says.
Juan thinks that education is the key. In the past, she’s tipped water with paint down the stormwater drain thinking it was the right thing to do, but now knows it needs to be tipped down the sink or into the garden. “People can contribute to the problem when building wastes, such as concrete and paint, are not properly managed.”
Keeping the drains clear and just for rain has a number of benefits says Juan. “As well as keeping the harbour clean, it reduces the chance of flooding (through blockages) and helps keep your rates down (as it costs Council money to keep the drains in good working order).”
Cars should also be washed on the grass wherever possible, or in a carwash, to avoid the run-off entering the street gutters or drains. Carefully packing recycling bins so the contents don’t blow out into the drains or harbour and picking up rubbish are two simple steps people can take to protect our harbour.
As well as individuals, some schools in Porirua have also been involved in labelling drains through the Porirua Harbour Trust and Enviroschools programmes.
30 May 2017