Manukau Courier : November 4th 2010
www.manukaucourier.co.nz Thursday, November 4, 2010 Rubbish-buster: Committed rower Graham Cawood has picked up more than 7000 pieces of rubbish during his daily rows on the Tamaki River. Photo: FIONA GOODALL Rower's oar-some effort By AMY McGILLIVRAY HE ROWS the Tamaki River every day without fail and nearly always comes back with a boat full of rubbish. It is more than just exer- cise for Graham Cawood. It's his way of looking after the environment. Mr Cawood has fished more than 7000 pieces of plastic out of the river since he started cleaning up his surroundings in May 2006. And it seems to be making a difference. The Mt Wellington resident collected 300 pieces of rub- bish in his first few weeks. Last month he found just 12. I like to do something,'' the 63-year-old says. I can do this myself. I don't need any funds.'' Mr Cawood has been rowing on and off for 45 years but started training regularly as a way to keep healthy after a heart attack six years ago. Since then he's only missed four days out on the water. The Auckland Rowing Club member has even modified his hat to help search for rub- bish. A small mirror hanging on the front means he can see where he's going without having to turn around and makes it easier to spot debris. He has perfected the art of rowing with a boat full of trash. He fishes out buckets, dolls, plastic bags and bottles on his 8km journey. Sometimes he comes across items too big for his boat like mattresses, fridges and tyres. Auckland Rowing Club cus- todian Bruce Lodder says Mr Cawood's commitment is known throughout the organ- isation. It's not uncommon for him to come back with 10 or 12 plastic bottles and hardly any room for himself,'' he says. Mr Cawood says the Pacific Trash Vortex -- a highly polluted patch of the Pacific Ocean estimated to be twice the size of the United States -- would be less of a problem if everyone did their part. Every bottle you pick up is one less that's going to end up there,'' he says. If everybody who lives here went out and cleaned their little bit once a month that would make a hell of a difference.'' The United Nations En- vironment Programme estim- ates there are more than 13,000 pieces of plastic litter floating on every square kilo- metre of the ocean. Mr Cawood is happy to be doing his part for a healthier planet. I enjoy it. It's satisfying.''
Manukau Courier November 2
November 5th 2010