School pupils to take care of the Liesbeek

Pupils cleaning the Liesbeek River.

Pupils from schools surrounding the Liesbeek River are collaborating to clear and maintain a stretch of the river.

With financial support from the Rotary Club of Claremont, Bishops Interact Club is leading the Schools for the Liesbeek initiative, covering the section of the river between Rosebank Green and St Joseph’s Marist College.

Peter Hyslop, from Bishops Interact Club, said the idea was for the pupils to work together to take responsibility for this stretch of the river which passes close to their schools. They held a clean-up in April and have another planned for August.

“The long-term plan is to continue clearing litter from this stretch of river and to obtain council approval to landscape it, lay paving stones for a pathway, plant shrubs and trees and erect a bench,” said Mr Hyslop.

Members of the Interact Clubs at Bishops, Rondebosch Boys’ High School, Claremont High School, San Souci Girls’ School and SACS as well as the Earth Children group from Rustenberg Girls’ High School and Inspire group from St Thomas’s church came together for the first clean-up.

The group of 116 pupils were joined by a nature conservation officer from the City of Cape Town and representatives from the Friends of the Liesbeek group and the Green Anglicans. They cleared about 30 refuse bags of trash, not including a bedframe and mattress found on the riverbank.

After clearing the river, Kevin Winter, from UCT’s environmental and geographical science department, spoke to the pupils about water scarcity, water management and urban river systems.

The pupils also spent time in smaller groups brainstorming how they could work together to best maintain the river.

Mr Hyslop said the project was a wonderful opportunity to teach pupils in a practical way about the value of water and how the river was a vital part of the water system in the city.

“We want to instil a sense of social responsibility for public places and preserve the environment. We are grateful for the expert input the learners have already received and to the Rotary Club of Claremont for their financial support with this project.”