Water bottling protest sees thousands of plastic bottles dumped on Mt Maunganui beach

Thousands of plastic water bottles have been dumped on a beach in Mount Maunganui in protest against a Chinese water bottler. 

The company Nongfu will be in court tomorrow to defend its right to resource consent. 

Thousands of bottles were dumped on Omanu Beach in protest over a scaled-up water bottling plant near Whakātane.

"It's going to create a lot of truck movements, it's going to create a lot of congestion, it's going to create 2400 bottles every minute which is half a billion bottles a year," Heidi Hughes of community group Greater Tauranga told 1 NEWS.

That number is disputed by Nongfu.

The Chinese water bottler, which owns Otakiri Springs, was granted resource consent to take a billion litres of water a year.

"This Government is saying that they want the environment to our nuclear free moment and we just really need to step up and do something about it," Ms Hughes said.

The decision to grant consent was made by the Bay of Plenty Regional Council, but it's being appealed in court.

"I'm very concerned about the level of plastic in the environment," one opponent of the consent said.

Another said: "If this is how many bottles they make per minute, imagine how many they make per hour or per day, or week or year."

Nongu says it's committed to working with the community to find a solution. 

In its proposal, it'll reduce truck movements, hours of operation and noise for neighbours.

Tauranga Mayor Greg Brownless said it's likely the operation will "put quite a few trucks on our roads, and if not trucks, trains. It would be better to have trains than trucks, but either way it's going to further congest an already congested city".

Hundreds gathered at Omanu Beach to show their support for the protest. The bottles will be taken from the beach and dumped at the steps of the Environment Court hearing on Monday morning.

Nongfu says the water bottling operation will create 60 jobs and boost the local economy.

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Chinese water bottler Nongfu will be in court on Monday to try to hold onto its resource consent. Source: 1 NEWS