Waves of black oil are washing up on Papamoa beach today as the seaside suburb continues to be pounded with oil and floatsam from Rena.
SunLive photographer Tracy Hardy is on the beach near the Domain, and says you can smell the oil from 100 metres away.
Around 140 people, mostly consisting of soldiers from Linton Camp, banded together to clean up a six kilometre stretch of beach.
“The sea is just black, there are some spots where it's ok but it's mainly black.”
Tracy says there is a strange haze on the beach by the Papamoa Surf Life Saving Club as the Army and volunteers work hard to clear the beach.
“There are 140 people on the beach at Harrison Reserve who have been working from 9am and will continue until 6pm.”
Beaches are now closed from Mount Maunganui to Maketu and volunteers are being asked to phone 0800 645 774 or go to the volunteer post at Mount Maunganui and Omanu surf clubs to register for the clean up.
The clean up continues on the beach adjacent to Harrison Reserve.
Tauranga City Mayor Stuart Crosby says a limited number of people can be accommodated at any beach spot, so the teams need to be coordinated through a response system.
“We know it's frustrating for local people, who are saying ‘these are our beaches and we want to be able to look after them. People are going onto the beaches and trying to clean up themselves, but they risk further damage to the beach and tracking oil into carparks and urban areas.
“They also bring in extra sand which is creating a bigger disposal problem than we already have. We need to co-ordinate this effort properly and we welcome the offers of help.”
Public meetings are being held at the following locations:
6pm at Mount Maunganui College hall.
1pm at Mount Maunganui College hall.
6pm at Papamoa Sport and Recreation Centre.