Stu­dents take ac­tion over rub­bish

Whangarei Report - - FRONT PAGE -

The fu­ture of the en­vi­ron­ment is in safe hands if the stu­dents of Room 22 at Whanga¯ rei’s St Fran­cis Xavier Catholic School are any­thing to go by.

The Year 5 and 6 stu­dents hit the streets around their school re­cently to pick up rub­bish from the sides of the road.

They found cig­a­rette butts, chip pack­ets, glass bot­tles, fast food pack­ag­ing, other pieces of plas­tic and a hub­cap.

Ten-year-old Kate Strat­ton said it was terrible.

“It’s gross,” classmate Amelia Vun, 11, said. “Peo­ple who drop it shouldn’t drop it,” Strat­ton de­clared. “I’m won­der­ing why peo­ple even drop it in the first place,” Vic­to­ria Jamieson, 9, added. The clean-up started on Percy St, con­tin­ued on to West­ern Hills Drive, then Kens­ing­ton Ave where the stu­dents also covered Kens­ing­ton Park, be­fore turn­ing on to Park Ave and then back to school. They were armed with four large bags, a bucket for glass, gloves, rub­bish grab­bers and signs to wave at mo­torists. Slo­gans in­cluded “no pol­lu­tion join our rev­o­lu­tion “and “be fan­tas­tic pick up plas­tic“.

By the time they reached the Kens­ing­ton Ave and the West­ern Hills Drive round­about, their four large bags were all nearly full.

Their teacher Deb Hepi said they had found “far too much“.

The com­mu­nity clean-up came about thanks to a cou­ple of in­spi­ra­tions. Her class had been learn­ing about te moana, the ocean, this term. Hepi had also signed the stu­dents up to the Stu­dent Vol­un­teer Army, so they had to think of an ac­tion that would ben­e­fit their com­mu­nity.

First they wanted to do a beach clean-up, but af­ter talking to Ecoso­lu­tions they de­cided to clean up their lo­cal en­vi­ron­ment in­stead.

The idea was to get the rub­bish be­fore it gets to the beach. Hepi said the stu­dents were “quite hor­ri­fied “to learn about the dam­age plas­tics do, es­pe­cially to marine and other wildlife.

PHO­TOS / TA­NIA WHYTE

St Fran­cis Xavier Catholic School teacher Deb Hepi took her class­room on a clean-up in the neigh­bour­hood around their school. In­set: Kate Strat­ton, 10, and Kara Gee, 9, with a hub­cap found near Kens­ing­ton Sta­dium.

Asher Iyer, 9, and Wil­liam Daw­son spread their mes­sage to pass­ing mo­torists.

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