In the Auckland suburb of Onehunga, the ‘community of learning’, Te Iti Kahurangi Kāhui Ako, has embraced the Litter Intelligence Education Programme (LIEP) since 2019. The schools involved have students as young as early childhood right through to highschool, who survey local beaches at either side of the Manukau Harbour.
Through their consistent survey efforts, students have built up a picture of the litter problem around the harbour. They are also putting their findings and awareness of litter into action. Students noticed litter in gutters on the way to the beach and suspected that some of what they find in their litter surveys comes from school via stormwater drains. So they’ve begun to set up better recycling systems — including making art and crafts from recycled materials — and share their data at school assemblies and through videos.
Onehunga High School students have also worked on creating an Onehunga-wide vision for zero waste, to put forward during the planning process for the Onehunga Community Recycling Centre.
The schools’ various actions have been recognised in the recent ‘The Landscape of Waste, Stories of waste minimisation from across Maungakiekie’ and also received an honourable mention for their video documenting their efforts in Seaweek’s Ocean Champions Challenge 2021.
These achievements show that for schools, not only individuals, working together is better. Find out whether your school is part of a community of learning. If not, learn about the benefits of communities of learning and the first steps to setting one up at the link below.