Last week, the fact that Restaurant Brands was fined $15,000 for a cooking oil spill into Kaikorai Stream was big news. Restaurant Brands owns many fast food chains, including KFC, the outlet that was responsible for this spill in Dunedin on the 8th of October last year.
For those of you unfamiliar with the case, Restaurants Brands was convicted under the Resource Management Act, after oil and grease overflowed from the KFC outlet, into a carpark, before going down a gutter into the Kaikorai Stream.
This unfortunate situation was made worse by the inaction of the staff at the store, who were alerted on the Saturday night that the accident had occurred, but no action was taken until the following Monday, when the grease trap was cleared.
It was not until the Otago Regional Council was advised on Tuesday by the SPCA, concerned as the oil was coating the ducks which live in the stream, that further action was taken. Sadly, two of these ducks which had been covered in oil subsequently had to be put down.
From this point on, I feel that KFC, and Restaurant Brands must be commended for their actions.
Once management became aware of the issue, they ordered the outlet cleaned, and hired contractors to clean the stream. They paid the costs of Fish and Game, the Regional Council, and the SPCA. They have reviewed maintenance of waste disposal systems, and informed staff of the issues.
Furthermore, they entered an early guilty plea when taken to the Environment Court, and acknowledged that they “should have dealt with this earlier and better”.
So today, I just want to say: Good on you Restaurant Brands, for behaving decently and accepting responsibility.
It gave me hope after my dark blogs about pollution and extinction, and industrial waste, that here in New Zealand we have solid environmental laws for situations like this, and our corporations are aware of (and act accordingly to) the general public feeling.
I hope that this trend continues, and believe that we should cherish our environmental protection laws and regulations. And, I hope that in the future, as we have in the past, New Zealanders will stand up, and vociferously fight against any attempts to weaken or diminish their strength.