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Sea of plastic inspires clean up

These 11-year-olds inspired their entire school to hold a local clean up day. From left, Rose Schultze, Zoe Osborne and Kyra Barclay.

A visit from Young Ocean Explorers inspired a large scale clean up of beaches and parks in Whangaparāoa last week.

Whangaparāoa School Year 6 students Zoe Osborne, Kyra Barclay and Rose Schultze said that it was shocking to see images in the presentation of sea creatures stuck in plastic.

The students say they have seen plastic wrappers and rubbish floating off local beaches on several occasions and after thinking it must have come from a single incident, such as a party, realised that it could be becoming ‘the new normal’.

Zoe says classes at Manly Sailing Club recently included awareness of very tiny pieces of plastic. “When we looked we could see tiny beads of plastic everywhere on the beach,” Zoe says.

Zoe organised her class to do a clean up, and when she told Principal Kevin Cronin about it, he suggested up-scaling the operation and getting the whole school of more than 750 children, teachers and staff, involved.

The 11-year-old also approached Auckland Council with her idea and was given gloves and bags for everyone. She also obtained sponsorship from Countdown, which provided water and iceblocks.

The clean up took place on Friday, November 23, with groups taking on different areas that included Manly, Little Manly, Arkles Bay, Manly Park, Edith Hopper Park and the school grounds.

Zoe said, the place with the most rubbish was Little Manly beach.

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