Teach­ing kids the im­pact of plas­tic

Hamilton News - - COMMUNITY - Kim Cable

Plas­tic can be very use­ful, and can be found al­most ev­ery­where.

But, as the ta­mariki from Te Hi­hiri at Knighton Nor­mal School can tell you, plas­tic can also be a big prob­lem. Plas­tic and its byprod­ucts are lit­ter­ing our cities, towns, oceans and rivers, and con­trib­utes to health prob­lems for an­i­mals and hu­mans.

Go Eco is a Hamil­ton based char­ity that pro­vides com­mu­nity ed­u­ca­tion, col­lab­o­rates with and sup­ports en­vi­ron­men­tal groups and projects, pro­vides in­spi­ra­tion for liv­ing lighter and ad­vo­cates on be­half of the en­vi­ron­ment. They are home to a de­pot for re­cy­cling elec­tronic de­vices, bat­ter­ies, light bulbs, toner car­tridges, and they run Kaivo­lu­tion Food Res­cue.

Go Eco Sus­tain­abil­ity Ad­vi­sor Camilla Carty-melis re­cently ran an en­vi­ron­men­tal pro­gramme for stu­dents from Te Hi­hiri. Te Hi­hiri is the Ma¯ ori bilin­gual unit within Knighton Nor­mal School, and stu­dents are cur­rently learn­ing about ‘The im­pact of plas­tic on Pa­p­atu¯ a¯ nuku (Mother Earth).’

Chil­dren learnt about what hap­pens to plas­tic and other waste when you are fin­ished with it. They fol­lowed the life jour­ney of plas­tic, dis­cussing how plas­tic is cre­ated us­ing oil and other fos­sil fu­els. Right through to when it ends up dis­carded, and may end up in a land­fill, or in the ocean.

Whaea Tash, the ka­iako (teacher) of Room 21 said that they de­cided to study plas­tic and its im­pact, af­ter be­ing in­spired by stu­dents. A cou­ple of stu­dents in Te Hi­hiri were writ­ing a blog about how their wha¯ nau were try­ing to re­duce the amount of sin­gle-use plas­tic they had at home.

In the pro­gramme, kids were given dif­fer­ent types of rub­bish and had to de­cide how long it would take for the rub­bish to break down.

“The kids were amazed that plas­tic prod­ucts may break down small, but never dis­ap­pear com­pletely. Through the pro­gramme they were able to un­der­stand top­ics such as mi­croplas­tics, leachate, life cy­cle of plas­tic, toxic gases be­ing re­leased into the earth and al­ter­na­tive prod­ucts to plas­tic — metal straws, bam­boo cups, bam­boo tooth brushes and harakeke bas­kets” says Whaea Tash.

Whaea Whit­ney, the ka­iako (teacher) of Room 20 also said that teach­ing kids about kaiti­ak­i­tanga (guardian­ship) and their re­spon­si­bil­ity as Ma¯ ori to take care of Pa­p­atu¯ a¯ nuku (Mother Earth) was im­por­tant.

“The kau­papa fit­ted re­ally well with te ao Ma¯ ori — the Ma¯ ori world view — and plas­tic is very top­i­cal in the news at the mo­ment. More peo­ple are be­com­ing aware of the im­pact of plas­tic, and shops are start­ing to phase out us­ing plas­tic bags” says Whaea Whit­ney.

Camilla from Go Eco says that pro­tect­ing our en­vi­ron­ment re­lies on all peo­ple play­ing their part.

“Look­ing af­ter our en­vi­ron­ment is such an im­por­tant kau­papa. It is great to see young peo­ple tak­ing the lead, and adults tak­ing ac­tion too.” Go Eco is at 188 Com­merce Street, Frank­ton. There is an ecoshop with en­vi­ron­men­tal gifts for Christ­mas.

Photo / Sup­plied

Stu­dents from Te Hi­hiri — the Ma¯ ori bilin­gual unit within Knighton Nor­mal School — learn­ing about plas­tic.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from New Zealand

© PressReader. All rights reserved.