School helps clean Liesbeek River

Bokmakierie Primary School pupils participated in the Liesbeek River clean-up.

Bokmakierie Primary School pupils rolled up their sleeves to tackle pollution on the banks of the Liesbeek River last Friday.

The 80-odd Grade 5s, 6s and 7s worked with the Friends of the Liesbeek and the Captain Fanplastic school programme on a stretch of river from Valkenberg Hospital to the River Club.

The Captain Fanplastic programme promotes environmental awareness, educating children about the benefits of recycling plastic to prevent harm to the planet.

Ruben Hazelzet, who helps to run Captain Fanplastic, said the programme made it fun for pupils to pick up plastic.

“We have created a world around Captain Fanplastic, who is a pirate looking for treasure. By having the kids transform themselves into pirates, they immerse themselves in a world that they enjoy. Instead of cleaning up, they are looking for treasure,” he said.

The Friends’ Liesbeek project manager, Sabelo Memani, said the pupils had filled 16 garbage bags during the clean-up.

“It is not often that we have kids in the urban areas spending time in the environment. They were doing something positive for the environment and were enjoying it.”

Bokmakierie Primary School principal, Larry Lewis, said the fun nature of the clean-up had helped to get the children enthusiastic about it.

“The river flows past our school where there is dumping taking place; this clean up helped create more environmental awareness for them,” he said.

John Kieser, of Plastics SA, said they would help Friends of the Liesbeek remove the collected waste and see what could be recycled.

According to Mr Hazelnut,
12 schools are on the waiting list for the Captain Fanplastic programme. Companies wanting to sponsor them can email partners@ for more details.