Katie Sinclair, 17, of Opunake High School combined her passion for the environment with a Young Enterprise Scheme school project when she set up Healthy Oceanz and began organising public beach cleans in June.
Since then she has collected 3598 items of rubbish at four beaches around the town.
The most disgusting item she had collected so far was a full disposable nappy, she said.
She's also been around talking about the project to community groups, and is currently running Opunake Cleanup Week, part of the Keep New Zealand Beautiful national campaign, which ends with two beach cleans this weekend.
"I got the idea from this company in the United States that did beach clean ups and I thought they were doing a really good thing for the environment, and we could do this in Opunake."
"A lot of people have really supported me, shown they're willing to get involved, and that's really cool," she said.
"I'll be walking down the street, people stop and tell me what rubbish they've picked up at the beach."
click here to read the full article.