The Clutha Valley Primary School community set out for a spring clean last Tuesday when volunteers joined forces to rid local roads of rubbish.
Organised and led by Danone Nutricia NZ, the morning event coincided with Keep New Zealand Beautiful’s annual Clean›up Week, and was supported by Danone Clydevale employees, Clutha Valley Lions Club and the Clutha Valley Volunteer Fire Brigade, Sport Otago and Clutha District Council.
Following a safety briefing, and assisted by signage and overwatch from Southroads, the volunteers split into teams and deployed along both sides of about 13km of nearby roads to comb through long grass, ditches, banks and barriers for carelessly discarded waste.
Though it began raining, the children agreed their environmental work was more important than maths and writing back in the classroom.
By late morning the teams rallied at school with sacks stuffed with rubbish to sort with district council waste education officer Scott Martin, who is facilitator for 10 ‘‘Enviroschools’’ in the Clutha district.
‘‘It’s inspiring to see initiatives like the roadside clean up,’’ he said.
‘‘Once all the rubbish was brought back and audited we could comprehend the scale of roadside rubbish in our wider area.
‘‘Only one third of it needed to go to the landfill and the rest could be recycled or reused.’’
School principal Val Ward saw the initiative as a way to boost the community bond.
“The clean›up fits in really well with our school’s focus on sustainable environments and is a great opportunity to strengthen our relationship with local groups and organisations, including Danone,” Mrs Ward said.
Robin McCall, of Clutha Valley Lions Club, agreed.
‘‘My mum came to this school, so did I and my kids and my grandkids soon enough.
‘‘Days like this this bring us and show what can be achieved together,’’ he said.
Danone’s Clydevale plant director Chuen Kat Tan said the clean›up marked an important step in developing closer links with the community.
“Danone is committed to protecting and enhancing our local environment and we encourage our employees to volunteer with full pay to get alongside the students and our community partners.”
He said there would be opportunities for more community›based initiatives in coming months.
Pupil Clarice Van Staden (13) thought about what had been learned from the morning’s clean›up.
‘‘This stuff got here because people were careless, but they can easily keep rubbish in their cars until they get home,’’ she said.