NZ’s Deteriorating Water Raises A Stink

“New Zealand’s clean, green image took a beating this summer as tourists travelling through the countryside posted pictures of lakes and rivers off limits due to contamination by farm effluent, rubbish and human faece.” The Straits Times reports.

“A booming dairy farming industry, along with a surge in tourists seeking unspoiled natural attractions, has taken its toll on the country’s environment, heavily marketed as ‘100% Pure’.”

“Particularly affected is its vast network of once pristine rivers and lakes, which are now some of the most polluted among Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) countries, according to some experts.”

“(New Zealanders) are extremely worried that they are losing their ability to swim, fish and gather food from their rivers, lakes and streams,” said Martin Taylor, chief executive of Fish & Game New Zealand.

“More than 13,000 people signed a #toomanycows Greenpeace campaign on Twitter launched last week calling for a ban on synthetic nitrogen fertiliser,” reports the article.

“New Zealand already has way too many cows, and synthetic nitrogen is the key driver of the dairy intensification and expansion that leads to the dangerous double whammy of harm to rivers and climate,” said Mr Nick Young from Greenpeace.

“New Zealand has nearly five million cows, more than its human population of about 4.7 million.”

Dairy and tourism directly contribute about 3.5 per cent and 6.1 per cent respectively to New Zealand’s US$200 billion (S$271 billion) gross domestic product.”

“Mike Joy, a senior researcher at Victoria University of Wellington’s Institute for Governance and Policy Studies says the environment is paying the price for hands-off governance and the intensification of dairy and tourism industries,” according to the article.

“It’s an own goal… they are shooting themselves in the foot. The biggest value add this country can have is its clean, green image and they are just ruining that image,” he said.

“The government has said it is committed to improving water quality. In 2017, it set a national target of making 90 per cent of New Zealand’s large rivers and lakes swimmable by 2040, with an interim target of 80 per cent swimmable by 2030.”

Article Source: The Straits Times, January 18, 2019

Image Source: MaxPixel

Tags: New Zealand water  Straits Times  

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