A group of South Peninsula high school pupils are spearheading environmental awareness at their school, from starting an indigenous fynbos garden to building their own wind turbine.
South Peninsula High school in Diep River has also joined an NGO called Project 90 by 2030, which aims to reduce South Africa’s power footprint by 2030.
The NGO gives the pupils advice on environmental issues and they, in turn, help to create awareness among their peers, teachers and in the areas they live.
Brandon van Niekerk, 16, is a Grade 10 pupil who is one of the 25 members of the school’s environmental club.
He said the club had started two years ago with only five members.
He said they had started with a vegetable food tunnel next to the sports field.
They grow tomatoes, parsley, peppers, beetroots and other vegetables in the food tunnel.
The vegetables are donated to a nearby shelter while the rest are sold to their teachers to raise money that the club saves and later uses to run their projects.
They also take turns looking after an indigenous fynbos garden which they started at the school.
But one of their most ambitious projects has been building a mobile wind turbine which they plan to use to power part of their computer laboratory.
Kimono Pietersen, who is also in Grade 10, said they had initially wanted to build a solar panel but it was too expensive.
She said they had seen a change in the level of environmental awareness at the school since they started the club.
Kimono said they also got together with pupils from other schools to share ideas and work together to create more awareness.
Brandon said they were planning to plant more trees on the school grounds and they wanted to get solar panels.
“We want to broaden our knowledge of the environment. Most of us want to study in fields related to the environment and medicine when we finish high school.”
Moegammad Ali Waggie, 16, also in Grade 10, is one of the pupils involved in building the mobile wind turbine.
He said: “We started off not knowing anything. But we have been meeting every Friday afternoon with an instructor who teaches us how to build the turbine.”
Moegammad said it had taken them seven weeks to build the turbine and that it would be ready to be shown to their school on Friday.
Deputy principal Zeid Baker said the level of awareness among the pupils on environmental issues like climate change and reducing their carbon footprint was phenomenal.
“Environmental awareness is covered in all subjects at the school. So you have the English teacher talking about it, the science teacher, the maths teacher… the awareness is growing. They (the pupils) want to be part of the solution.
“They are speaking to experts and spreading the message around the school.”
l This week the Cape Argus will feature other schools with green initiatives.