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Growing pressure on Government to prosecute litterbugs

People who spend their days cleaning up Auckland's harbours and beaches are urging the Government to change laws to prevent littering and the scourge of plastics.

The Watercare Harbour Clean Up Trust heads out on the waters every day, picking up rubbish from the sea and various bays on places such as Rangitoto Island.

Since 2002, they've picked up 65 million litres of rubbish – everything from tyres and plastics to cigarette butts.

Watercare Harbour Clean Up Trust co-founder Hayden Smith told 1 NEWS it's frustrating people don't realise that when they drop their rubbish, it's the sea and beaches it lands on, often polluting those areas for years.

Mr Smith wants to see fines increased for littering, as well as manufacturers doing more to reduce the amount of plastic in products.

Auckland Mayor Phil Goff is joining his calls – he spent a day with the Trust to see the work they do.

Mr Goff said it's not just increasing fines, but giving councils more power to prosecute people who litter.

He also wants a container deposit scheme. In South Australia, 80 per cent of plastic drinking bottles are recycled.

Conservation Minister Eugenie Sage told 1 NEWS she will look at whether such a scheme could be introduced in New Zealand, but it won't happen anytime soon.

She said she would also like to see an overhaul of the Litter Act.

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    Millions of litres of rubbish end up in Kiwi harbours every day. Source: 1 NEWS