Plastic drinking straw wrappers, shopping receipts and tree leaves were some of the items prevented from getting into Nelson’s stormwater network, thanks to a new litter basket trial being undertaken by Nelson City Council.

Council is investigating ways to improve the water quality from the stormwater network prior to discharging into our streams, rivers and coastline trialling litter baskets, which are retrofitted into road sumps. 

The aim of the trial is to understand how well these litter baskets perform at catching pollutants, including heavy metals, petrochemicals, microplastics and general litter. 

Council is in the early stages of this trial and has installed these baskets in four locations around the Nelson city centre. 

Each location has its unique environment such as a heavily trafficked road, a low trafficked road, a pedestrian walkway and a car park. 

The aim of this trial is to better understand how these baskets perform within each of these environments, as the source and concentration of pollutants will vary. 

The first round of sampling has been completed and initial results show a variety of contaminants including arsenic, copper, zinc, nickel, total hydrocarbons, microplastics and large litter materials are being captured. 

Over the next year, Council will be collating this information to assist in developing a more comprehensive plan of the suitability and preferred locations of these devices and to determine ongoing maintenance costs.