Students take action over rubbish
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.
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.