A new school litter reduction resource for 5-11-year-olds will help children understand the impact of dumping litter in the environment.

Kiki Kiwi and Friends: The Travelling Trash was created by Keep New Zealand Beautiful and supported by the Ministry of Education and the Ministry for the Environment.

Education Minister Chris Hipkins launched the programme today at Plateau School in Upper Hutt. It is being distributed to primary and intermediate schools this term.

“The Litter Less resource educates children on what they can do to keep rubbish out of the environment and what happens when we are careless and don’t put things in the bin,” says Hipkins.

Keep New Zealand Beautiful identified a need to target litter reduction when two years ago KNZB volunteers collected enough rubbish to fill 120 rugby fields to half a metre high.

“In a recent study, 75 per cent of New Zealanders agreed that they are responsible for reducing waste, but we remain largely disconnected from the effects of dropping litter or not disposing of items in the right way,” says Associate Environment Minister Eugenie Sage.

“We all need to realise that when we drop things on the ground, especially plastics like water bottles and bags, they don’t just disappear. They end up somewhere, often in waterways or the oceans where they harm whales, turtles and seabirds.

“This programme empowers our young people to investigate the causes of, and to take action on, the environmental issues they feel strongly about. I believe it will lead to long-term behaviour change,” says Sage.

Kiki Kiwi and Friends is being distributed to schools from 30 July. An online audio storybook version and all the programme resources are available for download at www.knzb.org.nz.

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