True-blue water-saving challenge for schools

Young Siembamba charges, from left, Marnitz van Rooyen, 3, Logan van der Walt, 5, Avethandwa Funde, 3, Minentle MayiMayi, 3, Lia Lodewyks, 3, Lacey van Rensburg, 4, and FJ Goosen, 4, support the Blue Heart Day challenge
Picture: Fredlin Adriaan

PE creche spearheads consumption competition

A metro-wide watersaving challenge for high, primary and nursery schools will be launched today at an unusual little creche in Lorraine.

While many will be celebrating Valentine’s Day with a red heart, Siembamba Nursery School is hosting a “Blue Heart Day” to unveil the Nelson Mandela Bay Water-Wise Challenge.

School principals and metro officials are due to attend the event and Siembamba staff and some of the older pupils will be handing out water-wise desert roses and spekboom plants to motorists passing the creche in Luneville Road from 6.30am to 8am today.

The owner of 32-year-old Siembamba, Mignonne van Heerden, said the competition would be run over three months.

“On February 23, the schools will be required to take a photograph of their water meters showing their consumption reading and the precise time and to e-mail it to us with all their particulars to download on our Facebook site,” she said.

“On May 23, they will take a second photograph and e-mail it to us, and the winner will be the school with the best consumption divided by the number of pupils and staff.”

The winner would receive a 5 000 litre water tank from JoJo Tanks.

Van Heerden said Blue Heart Day would be used to make the first official announcement of the competition.

She would then visit the education department tomorrow to collect a list of all the schools in the metro.

“We will then e-mail them all and go around physically to alert the schools we can’t get hold of.”

She said while some awareness had been created around household water consumption, not much had been done around schools, and the aim of the competition was to fill this gap.

“Schools have to be more responsible with everything, from taps running to how we water our gardens and playing fields.

“Water scarcity is not going to go away,” she said.

The indirect aim of the competition was to educate children so they would educate their families.

Siembamba was already setting an example in this regard, having cut its water consumption by a third through using grey water to flush the toilets, reducing the washing regime for the children’s mattress covers, using paper to pre-wipe dirty plates, and serving water in mugs rather than having the tap turned on and off all day.

At Siembamba, Van Heerden and her staff promoted environmental responsibility on a broad front.

Besides vegan meals, no pesticides are used, all the garden plants are indigenous and teaching themes regularly focus on eco-issues like the need to reduce the use of plastic.

Siembamba teaching assistant Mapule MayiMayi said she believed schools in Walmer Township, where she lived, would benefit from getting involved in the competition.

“Some people in my area know about the need to save water, some do not. I think this is a very good idea,” she said.

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