New Zealand Government Set to Improve Condition of its Waterways
The New Zealand Government warned that the country’s waterways have reached saturation with respect to pollution. Most of the lakes and rivers in the country, are not swimmable due to the pollutants regularly thrown in them.
A public poll recently conducted revealed that as many as 82 percent people are concerned about the grieving rivers. The number two concern of New Zealanders’ is the cost of living, with 80 percent people claiming that they are extremely concerned.
Announcing the New Zealand government’s action plan for the coming two years, David Parker, the environment minister said, “Our rivers, lakes and wetlands are under serious threat after years of neglect. We can’t continue to go on like we are.” He added, “If we don’t fix things now they will only get worse and will be more expensive to fix.”
As per the New Zealand government, nearly two-thirds of all the rivers are unswimmable and many aquatic species including New Zealand’s native freshwater fish species are close to extinction.
Adding to the plight of New Zealanders, the available drinking water is not clean. In 2016, nearly 5,000 people fell ill and four died after sheep faeces had contaminated the Havelock North’s water supply 430km southeast of Auckland.
Till the councils of the country have proper protection plans, immediate interim controls will be introduced on land intensification. The New Zealand government has ordered all the farmers to stop “risky farm practices” that pollute waterways, such as letting cows stray into waterways. Further, higher water quality standards will be introduced for swimming spots.
Recent regulatory measures introduced claim that from mid next year, proper check will be done to take up only those irrigation measures that do not add up to the existing pollution. In places where nitrate levels are high, farmers will have to take immediate action to reduce excessive percolation.
From the budget of the year, the New Zealand government has segregated NZ$229 million to help the farmers move to environment friendly farming practises. The farming community, however, claim that the Labour Coalition government has thrown the sector “under a tractor”.
If the reports introduced by the National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Science (NIWA) are to be trusted, the growth in pastoral farming, majorly airy, is the main reason for declining river water quality over the past 20 years. However, farmers claim that their interests and livelihood are being ignored.
People who claim swimming to be their birth right have shown incomparable remorse for not being able to swim because of the condition of waters.
As its said, “better late than never”, the New Zealand government has finally decided to take appropriate actions to save the environment from further damage.
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