Welcome to the Mother of all Clean Ups - Home Edition!
Every year around Mother’s Day, we give back to Papatūānuku (mother nature) by cleaning up our waterways – our rivers, streams and estuaries. But this year, with the COVID-19 lockdown, we can’t do the Mother of all Clean Ups at the water’s edge. Instead, we have put together a fun activity to do by yourself or as a family, while learning about how YOU can keep our waterways clean both in and outside of your bubble.
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Between Wednesday 6 and Wednesday 13 May you could WIN one of twenty prizes, just by checking your gutters and chatting about the type of roof you have – easy right?! Fill in your answers below (including your contact details) and click “Submit” at the bottom of the page to enter - it only takes 5-10 minutes. Winners are announced Saturday 16 May (judge's decision is final).
Pollution is one of the biggest threats to our natural environment. Stormwater – rain and drain water – ends up in our street gutters and then is washed into our rivers and streams, along with all the dirt, chemicals and rubbish that it picks up along the way.
BUT, you can be a Stormwater Superhero and stop this from happening. We owe it to our waterways to do all that we can to clean them up! Take the time to work your way through this at-home activity, to see how you can help stop the pollution of our precious waterways.

(Psst: The answers to many of the questions below can be found here: https://tinyurl.com/MoACUAnswers)
1. What is your favourite river in Greater Christchurch? Why is this your favourite? What would make it even better? *
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2. Go outside and check out your roof. What is it made of?
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DID YOU KNOW: If the roof on your house is made of metal, it might be hurting the environment every time it rains. Older metal roofs that are rusty or need painting can end up letting moss or metals into the stormwater that runs off the roof when it rains. You can stop this from happening by cleaning your roof and making sure the downpipe is redirected onto your lawn when you do, so that no nasties are going down the stormwater drain. Could your roof be contaminating your stormwater?
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What can you do to stop this?
3. Go outside and check spouting, downpipes and gully traps (drains under the downpipes): Are they free from leaves, moss and other contaminants? Are they in good condition?
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DID YOU KNOW: If your spouting and downpipes (pipes coming down from your roof) are filled with leaves, dirt or grime, or are rusty, it can clog your stormwater system. When this happens, damp and rot can enter your house and dirt, rust and mould flows into our streams and rivers, making life hard for the plants and animals that live there. What can you do to stop this?
4. How do you dispose of leftover paint and oil? Where do you wash your paint brushes?
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DID YOU KNOW: leftover paint and oil should be disposed of at a recycling centre not down the drain where it ends up in our waterways and is toxic to fish, plants and the invertebrates they feed on. When washing paint brushes do so over a laundry sink or over the grass, one goes into the sewerage system the other into the ground. What can you do to stop leftover paint and oil entering our streams and rivers?
5. Where do you wash your car?
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DID YOU KNOW: when you wash your car on your driveway or roadside, it drains all the detergent, dirt and grit into the stormwater system, down the drain and into our waterways. Many brake pads contain copper which also ends up being washed into our drains and rivers. What can you do to stop contaminants from car washing or copper brake pads?
6. Go out into your street – can you find where the stormwater pipe flows into the gutter? Are your gutters and street drains clean and free from debris like leaves and cigarette butts?
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DID YOU KNOW: All stormwater from your house (roof and driveway) goes into your street gutter and then down the drain and into the nearest river? At this time of year, leaves can be a big problem by putting lots of nutrients into the stream and rivers – feeding bad bacteria and making it hard for plants, fish and insects to live in the waterway as it deteriorates the oxygen available. To stop leaves getting into our streams and rivers, you can rake the leaves on your lawn, driveway and roadside, then put them in the green bin. What can you do to stop contaminants from entering the stormwater system in your street?
7. Go outside and check the footpath, gutter or road outside your property. Is there any sediment (soil) on it from your property?
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Did you know that any sediment (soil) that leaves your property and ends up on footpaths, gutters and roads goes into streams and rivers. It smothers the habitat for fish and insects, makes it hard for fish to see their food, makes the river look dirty and makes it more likely to flood. What can you do to stop this?
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8. When you are walking in the street or out in the car what should you do with rubbish?
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9. If you are taking the dog for a walk, what do you do with its poo? What should you do and why?
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10. Could you make a rain garden at your property? Rain gardens take the stormwater from your property and let it soak into the ground before it could make life difficult for fish, plants and insects in our rivers. Not all houses and ground conditions suit rain gardens, but if your house does, are you interested in finding out more?
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11, Could you collect your rainwater at your property and use it? Rainwater tanks can be used to collect water from your downpipes and store it for use around the home for things like watering the garden. This helps reduce the volume of water going into the stormwater system during heavy rainfall. Are you interested in finding out more?
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If you answered 'yes' to Question 10 or 11:
Check out the residential rain garden and rain storage exemplar at Richmond Community Gardens, 9 Eveleyn Couzins Road, Richmond, Christchurch. Christchurch City Council and Environment Canterbury in partnership with community river care groups are currently creating an online resource for those of you wanting to learn more. They are also creating a mobile resource trailer for schools and events. Make sure you provide your contact details below, so we can keep you informed of these developments.
12. DID YOU KNOW: over 50 tonnes of rubbish is collected every year from rubbish booms in the Avon and Heathcote Rivers? The booms were installed after river care groups lobbied the Council in 2017. Every Mother of all Clean Ups harvests over 5 tonnes from the banks of the rivers and estuary. It's rubbish that people have thrown aside instead of dumping at a recycling centre. Is this photo taken of the boom in the Ōtākaro or Ōpāwaho river?
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Here's a graph of the rubbish collected by successive Mother of All Clean Ups (blue) and by the rubbish booms (orange). Lets keep our waterways clean!
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Thank you for participating in this activity, we hope you enjoyed it - stay safe!! A pdf of this form can be downloaded from here: http://www.jarviscms.com/user/10031/d3ef8e7c31010777.pdf
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