Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Guarding the rivers

For the last eighteen months, Millan Ruka has been patrolling Northland's rivers, photographing dirty dairying and forwarding the evidence to the local council, Fonterra, and the media in an effort to protect the environment. Now, the idea has gone national, with 40 people gathering last night in Wellington to form a nationwide group to hold farmers to account for their pollution:

Farmers who graze animals beside rivers and streams are the target of a new group formed to patrol New Zealand's waterways.

The inaugural meeting of the group, which has yet to be named, attracted 40 supporters in Wellington at the weekend.

They heard from Northland river paddler Millan Ruka, who has formed Environmental River Patrol Aotearoa, and Wairarapa small block holder Grant Muir.

Further meetings will be held around the country to form regional groups to adopt and patrol rivers.

This is a good idea. Farmers get away with this shit because its not documented, and so Fonterra - which buys their milk - and councils - which should prosecute them - can look the other way. But putting hard evidence before them makes it their problem, and will hopefully encourage them to take action to prevent and punish it. Obviously, preventing is better; I'd like to see all waterways fenced and planted to prevent them being fouled by wandering livestock. But we've already seen that farmers are reluctant to do this voluntarily (or even when required by Fonterra; they simply lie instead), so it may require a few prosecutions pour encourager les autres.