Cleaning up rubbish from roadsides and in public reserves is an ongoing issue for the Hastings District Council, and one it plans to highlight with the community in coming months.
Over the past five years the cost to the council to collect this rubbish has averaged $260,000 per annum – a cost that could be minimised or avoided completely if people disposed of their rubbish appropriately.
Keeping our beautiful district free of rubbish requires all of us to play our part and there’s already some inspiring work going on at local schools that are taking the lead.
One example is Hastings Intermediate School, whose Year 7 and 8 students have headed out once every two weeks since the start of this term to pick up rubbish from the surrounding streets.
To date they have been collecting along the street as far as the dairy on Massey St near their school, but plan to extend their clean-up to Karamū Rd.
Year 8 student Vaughn Laurence, 13, says one of the expectations that falls under the school slogan “Manaakitanga” is “My community, My responsibility”.
“As we go to the dairy almost every day we are partly responsible for the rubbish so we pick it up.”
Fellow year 8 student Mya Wallace, 13, says during “Operation Clean-Up” they have encountered a lot of cigarette butts and plastics, as well as anything from odd shoes to clothing.
Irongate and Peterhead Schools are also doing their bit and running similar clean-up sessions.
This kind of initiative is a valuable contribution to making Hastings litter-free and one that is valued by the council as it embarks on its campaign encouraging people: “Don’t be a cheeky chucker! Give your litter a lift to the bin.”
Starting out as a digital campaign, as it rolls out the aim is to install signage along rural roads, in parks and other retail/urban spaces.
Hastings district councillor and community engagement portfolio holder Wendy Schollum says loose litter is an epidemic that costs the community the equivalent of investing in six new, half basketball courts every year - something local youth were calling out for.
“It is fantastic to see our rangatahi leading the way and acting as proactive role models in caring for our environment and people.
“It’s easy to condemn those who litter, it’s a true reflection of community pride to get out there and do something about it.
“Together, with these small acts of community service, we can help to redirect council’s current investment in litter into community facilities.”
17 September 2019
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