Schools Clean Up Day: Giving a small helping hand

Aidan Wondracz

Students from Glebe Youth Services and Ultimo Public School have joined rank with OceanWatch Australia and Sydney Fish Market to clean up Kissing Point Park in Putney as part of this year’s Schools Clean Up Day initiative.

The event kicked into swing at 10:30am today, 3 March.

Elle Leontiv, Australia Representative of the global organisation Ocean Watch, co-curated the campaign.

We want to take this opportunity to encourage young people to become stewards of their environment and learn all they can about protecting their local areas,” says Ms Leontiev.

The clean-up is part of a larger concerted effort between students and the general public that aims to tackle waste pollution. Whilst students and younger adults take charge of the land, older and more experienced volunteers orchestrate an in-water clean up to reach more difficult and far-away places.

The 2015 Plastic Bag Report calculated that between 500 billion to 1 trillion plastic bags are used each year, worldwide.

It has been suggested that the average plastic bag is used for as little as 12 minutes,” says a report from Clean Up Australia.

The lifespan of a plastic bag greatly dwarfs its short lived-utility.

The plastic bag persists in the environment for up to 1000 years, representing a significant waste impact.”

Once the students successfully complete the task on land, fishermen ferry them around the harbour to lecture them on marine debris and plastic pollution and their effects on sea-life and the seafood industry.

Clean Up Australia urges members of the public to get involved with the grassroots movement in any way possible. Donations are accepted via their website or Facebook. All funds raised are syphoned into purchasing clean-up tools, which in turn, are provided to the community, schools, and youth groups.