Clean-up crews assemble

Photo: Nat Warburton

Wanaka had clean-up teams out in force for Keep New Zealand Beautiful’s Clean Up Week, held across the country from September 11 to 17.

Sixty-five Holy Family School students took to Sticky Forest with their rubbish bags on Wednesday 13, clearing around 50kg of bottles, plastic bags, polystyrene, old tyres, mattress springs, glass and half an old door.

The Clean Up Crabs, a group of 16 student organisers aged eight to 13, co-ordinated the effort, which took nearly five hours.

“We were surprised and horrified at what we found. The smashed glass by the bike tracks is really bad for bikes. We just wanted to clean it up so that people will keep going there and enjoy it more,” said group storyteller Nat Warburton (10).

Platoon leader Matai Wells (13) said the group didn’t expect to find as much rubbish as they did.

“We thought it was just going to be a few random bottles but it surprised us. I think a lot of the rubbish we found had been blown there rather than dropped by people.”

Year Six teacher Janis Sandri said the students voted to do the clean-up as part of a nationwide Student Volunteer Army project that the school had enrolled in.

“It teaches the students so many life skills as well as how satisfying it is to volunteer,” Janis said.

When the group was finished, Wastebusters and community anti-litter campaigners Don’t Chuck Your Muck helped them dispose of the rubbish they had collected.

Don’t Chuck Your Muck collected 240kg from its own litter drive on the same day, while Kahu Youth and members of the community cleaned up Lismore Park on Saturday, September 16.

More than 20 volunteers, including Mount Aspiring College students, cleaned up the park in under two hours, with Caltex arranging for the rubbish disposal.

Kahu Youth’s Claire 'Frenchy' French thanked everyone who took part and said, “It was great to see so many people from the community coming along and getting involved and great to see the young people getting involved. Hopefully litter picking so close to their school will help to inspire them to be conscious about dropping litter and share the inspiration with their friends.”

Pictured: Members of the Clean Up Crabs with a trailer full of rubbish. Photo: Nat Warburton

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