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Kaiti Beach litter in the spotlight

GISBORNE Girls’ High School students are making a hands-on contribution to a three-year national litter data project and Kaiti Beach will be getting a regular spruce up in the process.

The enthusiastic eco-warriors are working with charity organisation Sustainable Coastlines on its citizen scientist Litter Project, with sponsorship from Eastland Port.

Last week, 11 year 10 to 13 students took part in the beach clean-up and litter analysis under the watchful eye of Sustainable Coastline mentors.

It was the first in a regular cycle of Kaiti Beach clean-ups and surveys as the girls help Sustainable Coastlines learn more about the global problem of marine pollution on local beaches.

For student Sabine Lapointe it was a chance to get outside and help make a difference. Maia Ingoe felt the same.

“The data we collected today, and the information from the next times we do it, will help Tairawhiti, New Zealand, and eventually the world, learn more about the problem and the solutions.”

In line with the project’s parameters the same 100m by 20m metre stretch of beach near the high-tide mark is surveyed each time.

On Thursday a tee-shirt, tape bubble-gum dispensers, ear buds, and tinfoil along with many indeterminate bits of plastic were collected during the Kaiti Beach sweep.

The citizen scientists then used space at Eastland Port to analyse the litter. It was categorised and weighed. One student’s job was to feed the live local information directly into a national database.

GGHS teacher Rita Halley oversaw the beach visit. She says the girls were naturally curious. They enjoyed seeing the logistics involved, getting outside, and knowing they were contributing to a nationwide movement.

“It’s experiences like this that enable them to take an active role in society now, and I suspect for many of them, into the future.”

Kaiti Beach is one of over 100 beaches to have its litter analysed in the nationwide three-year Sustainable Coastlines citizen science project.

With their training now complete GGHS students, with the support of Eastland Port, will carry out the next survey under their own steam.

For more information, visit http://sustainablecoastlines.org/litterproject/


CITIZEN SCIENTISTS: Gisborne Girls’ High School students are collecting rubbish and data for the Sustainable Coastlines citizen scientist Litter Project at Kaiti Beach. Back row: Niki Ovenden (Eastland Port), Sabine Lapointe, Hannah Veitch, Eva Mirko, Summer-Tui Koia, Beka Campbell, Sofia Newman, Amy Adcock, and Grace McKibbin. Front row: Lillias Ovenden Carlyle, Maia Ingoe, and Sam Robinson. Picture supplied
TEE-SHIRT AND MORE: Lillias Ovenden Carlyle with some of the litter picked up across a 100m stretch of Kaiti Beach. Picture supplied
DATA COLLECTION: Back at Eastland Port (above), Sam Robinson is guided by Sustainable Coastlines programme coordinator Shawn Elise Tierney on how to sort and analyse the litter collected.