By SARA MEIJ
Nelson Intermediate pupils are combining fundraising and reducing plastic waste with a new initiative focussed on plastic parking tickets.
Chatton Properties director Robin Whalley said he pitched the idea of a challenge with the school to collect the tickets in return for payment.
He said the aim was to highlight how big the plastic parking ticket littering problem was in the region and incorporate maths and statistics.
His business is donating 50 cents to the school for each parking ticket collected, up to a maximum of $1000, as well as a special prize for the ticket found the furthest away and the oldest ticket.
He said he thought the donation per ticket would be a good incentive to get students interested in collecting as many tickets as possible.
“I walk to work most days and they’re everywhere, right out in by the port, in the Maitai River and Saltwater Creek.”
The parking tickets can be recycled as part of the The Packaging Forum’s Love NZ soft plastic recycling programme.
In 2016 Nelson College for Girls participated in a project coordinated by the Nelson Environment Centre, to investigate where the plastic coated tickets ended up.
In just 40 minutes they found 200 tickets. Tickets were found as far away as Upper Moutere, in the Botanic Gardens, on the banks of the Maitai River and in the sea where kayakers found them.
Whalley said the challenge kicked off on July 1 and had another three weeks to go.
He said the project touched on the subjects of the environment, stakeholders, maths, statistics and leadership.
“It might show to be a bigger problem than we think it is.”
In 2015 the Nelson City Council proposed to replace all existing parking meters with more modern, hi-tech models between 2017 and 2019.
Council group manager infrastructure Alec Louverdis said the council supported any community effort to reduce litter in the region.
He said a parking meter trial with a different kind of paper that didn’t jam the machines had been going for two weeks and was promising so far.
It was possible the new tickets could go into the old machines, but that would depend on the results of the trial, which would run for another month.
Nelson Intermediate Acting principal Simon Patel said the parking ticket project allowed students to represent the school’s values in the community; being respectful, responsible, supportive and guardians.
“The student driven initiative is designed to draw attention to the blight that plastic parking tickets are becoming around Nelson and to spark a discussion about how parking can be enforced in the future.”