Beach trash becomes art
Whanga¯ rei students have turned trash into treasure through their efforts to protect Northland's waterways.
Half a cubic metre of litter was collected from the shorelines of Matakohelimestone Island as a part of Whitebait Connection's Drains to Harbour (DTH) trip. The 39 children from schools across Whanga¯ rei turned the assortment of litter into artworks as one of their projects last Tuesday.
Bottle caps, lighters, straws and cigarette packets make up most of the plastic waste lining Northland shores.
The Whanga¯ rei District Council funded programme works with 10 different schools in Whanga¯ rei for a term to educate children on the importance of protecting our environment, particularly fresh waterways.
The inter-schools programme involves five sessions, including a classroom introduction to stormwater pollution sources and the equipment used to measure pollution levels.
Other sessions involve field trips to local streams, Whanga¯ rei Wastewater Treatment Plant and Dragonfly Springs.
DTH co-ordinator Jordan Macdonald said the annual trip to Matakohelimestone Island was for children who are “especially engaged” with the programme and are actively working towards making a difference in the environment.
“It is an opportunity for them to see that they can make a difference, positive and negative,” he said.
A student from Kamo Primary created a prototype out of cardboard of a drain net to prevent stormwater pollution.
The programme had been running since 2006 and was a “great tool to get students out into their environment”, Macdonald said.
The Matakohe-limestone trip has been an annual event for the past five years since being initiated in 2013.
This year's trip involved a walk around the island, up to the pa site. A collection of rubbish later became arts and crafts as the children filled sea creature templates with the trash disposed on the shore.
The 39 kids from schools across Whanga¯ rei turned an assortment of litter into art works.