Kaitiaki Stormwater Action Project
Jackson Street Petone

Summary: Students from Wilford School have been monitoring what rubbish goes down road side drains in an attempt to raise awareness with the local community about the problem its causes for sea life. They hope to reduce the amount rubbish heading down these drains as they go straight into our marine environment without being treated.

Earlier this year students from Wilford School took part in the Experiencing Marine Reserves programme. After snorkelling in Taputeranga Marine Reserve and comparing this to their local rocky shore snorkelling spot at Lowry Bay, students identified rubbish washing up on local beaches as the problem they wanted to tackle.

Picture: Year 7 and 8 students from Wilford School about to enjoy a snorkel at Lowry Bay.

A small group of students decided targeting the source of the marine pollution problem through education and raising awareness about where it was coming from would be the best way to achieve positive change. They wanted to capture and monitor the rubbish travelling down roadside stormwater drains which all lead to the ocean without being treated, and then share this with their local community.

Picture Left: Rubbish found inside a roadside drain along Jackson Street, Petone.

Picture Right: Students Harvey, Ethan and Jemma, with Teacher Ailsa Webb and the Stormwater360 team on installation day.

After making contact with Auckland based company Stormwater360 we were excited to have two LittaTraps donated and installed by their team. These traps were designed to capture rubbish and other solid pollutants heading into the stormwater drains and prevent them from reaching the ocean. They had one installed in the heart of Jackson Street’s busy shopping area, and the other installed in amongst the housing area. This allowed them to compare pollutants found from the commercial and residential ends of Jackson Street.

 

Picture: Stormwater360’s LittaTrap installed and ready to catch pollutants.

Jemma, Harvey and Ethan (Wilford School) went on to dedicate one lunch time each week to empty, sort and count everything they had caught in the following 12 weeks. They were shocked at the amount of rubbish they were collecting. In the 12 weeks a total of 2,680 individual pieces of rubbish were collected – half of this was cigarette butts. There was also a lot of plastic, food wrappers and polystyrene. There are 93 drains along Jackson Street, meaning the amount of pollution potentially entering the harbour from Jackson Street drains only could equate to 664,272 pieces each year.

Picture Left: Students emptying the LittaTrap contents into a bucket for analysis back in class.

Picture Right: Back in class students get stuck into sorting and counting all the rubbish caught.

Jemma, Harvey and Ethan presented their findings to community members at an information evening held in September. They had kept all the rubbish collected so this could be revealed to those attending. Parents and community member were shocked to see just what the students had found and supported their message of needing change to happen.

Picture Left: Harvey, Ethan and Jemma present their findings to local community members.

Picture Right: Revealing the rubbish to community members.

The final stage of this project was for the students to get out and attach ‘Drains to Sea’ plaques to stormwater drains along Jackson Street. This was in an effort to change people’s careless actions around dumping rubbish down the drains. The plaques were donated by the Hutt City Council and glues and equipment donated by Bunnings Petone. Students have started labelling drains along Jackson Street in the busy shopping area and hope to be able to finish this off in the New Year.

Picture Left: Jazz from Bunnings Petone assisting students to place glue onto plaque labels.

Picture Right: Jemma attaching a ‘Drains to Sea’ plaque to a roadside drain on Jackson Street.

Website article links:

stuff.co.nz
curiousminds.nz