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A charity in Auckland was recently bemoaning the fact that they were not issued a permit to release 12,000 rubber ducks into the harbour for their fundraiser.  It demonstrates how ignorance abounds in the corporate sector, and while the CEO Keith Mackenzie’s intentions in raising funds for his charity may be noble, it certainly does not give him the right to go trashing the environment, let alone totally wasting resource in such a wanton fashion.

To back up a little, what the CEO wanted was people to bet on which rubber duck would be fastest up the harbour.  The 12,000 ducks get released into the harbour, and whoever backs the winner would win a million bucks.  Keith Mackenzie and his board in organising such an event firstly fail to understand the massive problem plastics are in the ocean.  In no way can they guarantee all the ducks will be collected.  In fact its highly unlikely they would be.  Auckland harbour is far from a still millpond, and winds, current, boat wash would more than likely see hundreds of them drift off into the pacific.

Secondly, Mackenzie fails to address the issue of what happens to the ducks that are successfully collected from the harbour.  They can hardly be given away to kids when they’ve been drifting around a contaminated harbour for hours on end.  Even if they were all washed clean and then given away, it is still sending the wrong message.  Either way, ducks that are collected from the harbour will all end up in a landfill, like all the rest of the plastic crap we endlessly produce.

Thankfully the Authorities have refused Mackenzie a permit, although in a recent interview he said he was still confident the event would be proceeding.  You do wonder why the board would approve such a mission – 12,000 plastic ducks that were all destined to end up in one of only 2 places – the ocean. Or a landfill.  It’s obvious to me its a total waste.  It turns out the ducks were sold to the charity by the board chairman.  A slight conflict of interest you might think.  Feathering his own nest it would seem, excuse the pun.