News and Events

Waiwera South take issue with beach rubbish

August 24, 2023

Senior ākonga from Waiwera South School and their school principal, Kaz Bisset, joined local experts, Marine Studies Educator Hannah Drury, and Waste Educator/Enviroschools Facilitator Scott Martin, on their local beach at Kaka Point recently. They were there to collect and audit rubbish from the beach as part of the on-going measurement of waste on this stretch of coast.

‘‘Today we’re collecting rubbish, weighing and counting it to compare with next term and as the years go past,’’ Millie Martin, 11, said.

Teamwork and attention.

On Kaka Point Beach the team collected every scrap of rubbish they could find inside a designated 100m x 20m area then weighed, separated and counted it to add detailed data to an ongoing national litter intelligence survey.

‘‘It’s a national citizen-science project run by Sustainable Coastlines where we do long-term surveys of particular sites, four times a year, to understand year-round litter flux and content,’’ New Zealand Marine Studies Centre educator Hannah Drury said.

Kaka Point Bowling Club made its premises available for the team’s base and after lunch the litter collection was repeated at Port Molyneux beach.

‘‘Incorporating sustainability into their learning empowers students to care for their local communities because they can actually measure the positive impact they can make. It’s inspiring to see the kids’ engagement — it makes me hopeful.’’ – Clutha District Council Enviroschools Facilitator Scott Martin said.

Sorting the collection of rubbish.

These young citizen scientists gathered almost 3 kilograms of rubbish from within the survey area at the Kaka Point Surf Lifesaving Club last Tuesday, compared with 0.47kg collected on September 23 last year. This is part of a longitudinal study to see if there is a change in litter found at certain sites over time. The information from this project is used by many sources, including the government, to help inform decisions such as one-off packaging.

Dealing with waste is not just a one-off day at the beach for these students. They are aware of the issues that humans create. They surveyed the beach at Kaka Point in the Catlins, then went to another nearby beach at Port Molyneux and did a general beach clean-up. Back at school this experience will add to their growing knowledge and awareness of waste management and influence the way they approach waste at school and in the community.


“The Enviroschools kaupapa, specifically engagement with their local community at Waiwera South School has really permeated into every aspect of daily life at the school. The students take pride in their school and local community, consciously aware and working towards reducing detrimental environmental impacts in these spaces, encouraged with the school integrating learning for sustainability into the many facets of the students’ learnings.” – Scott Martin, Enviroschools Facilitator, Otago

Leaving only footprints.

The Sustainable Coastline Litter intelligence survey data is available here.

Thanks so much to the Clutha Leader and Nick Brook for capturing some of this in their story and video, below.