Pupils rally neighbours to turn Pelham into a litter-free zone

2009-10-23 00:00

PUPILS at Pelham Senior Primary School and their teachers are sold on the idea of having a litter-free city.

So much so that they enlisted the help of other schools, churches, the ward councillors and the Pelham Ratepayers’ Association to declare the area a litter-free zone through their “Pelham Proud” campaign.

They are also hoping that businesses and other communities will buy into the idea by starting similar projects in their areas.

Explaining how the “Pelham Proud” campaign came about, school principal Louis Botha said part of the school’s role in the community is to educate pupils about nature conservation as well as instilling values in the children as proud South Africans.

An aspect of being able to do this, Botha said, starts with citizens in the City of Choice taking ownership of their city.

“In 1992, Pelham was open to children of all races, which gave us an opportunity to say to all our children that we can be proud South Africans. But to children that is just pie in the sky unless you can teach them to be proud of something,” said Botha.

Hence, their vision started with encouraging pride in their school by challenging pupils to clean up litter around it.

They then adopted Pelham Park and after caring for it, won a conservation award for the work in 2002.

However, Botha said, looking around at the current state of the city, they realised that they were fighting a losing battle unless they got everyone within the community involved.

He said the school has held parades and cleaned up the streets around it only to find the litter back again in a couple of days.

So last week, the school’s grade 7s, ferried by buses borrowed from local schools, delivered “Pelham Proud” campaign awareness letters to more than 4 000 post boxes encouraging residents to get together with neighbours and organise street-cleaning rosters.

They have also launched a blog that will allow the residents to share their success stories, with the 2010 World Cup as the target.

Botha said visitors will come to the city to see historical sights, but in its current state, it is more likely to cause shame unless residents ditch the attitude that it is the municipality’s job to clean up the city.

He said that since the campaign’s launch, Pelham is 60% cleaner.

Each term until the start of the World Cup, the school will be facilitating big clean-up campaigns.

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