Youngsters 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.

“The idea is for the learners to work together in taking responsibility for this stretch of the river which passes so close to their schools. We have already organised one clear up event which took place in April and another is scheduled 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,” says Peter Hyslop, Teacher in Charge of Bishops Interact Club.

Members from 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’ church all got together for the first collaborative clear up event.

The group of 116 learners 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. The youngsters cleared at least 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 youngsters about water scarcity, water management and urban river systems. The learners then spent time in smaller groups brainstorming how they could work together to best maintain the river.

“This project is a wonderful opportunity to teach learners in a practical way about the value of water and how the river is a vital part of the water system in our 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,” concludes Hyslop.

For more information on Rotary Club of Claremont and the various community projects and initiatives they are involved with, please visit https://www.facebook.com/RotaryClubofClaremont/ or email ContactClaremont@rotary9350.co.za.