Thrive’s audit helps schools manage waste

The Hout Bay and Llandudno schools that have signed up for the fourth annual Thrive Hout Bay enviro audit are neck and neck heading into the second half of the year.

The audit, which helps schools to manage waste, water and energy in line with Thrive’s five pillars of sustainability – zero waste, local food, waterwise, energy efficiency and biodiversity – has been a resounding success since it started four years ago.

This audit has expanded to include a “Heroes at Home” section, measuring how pupils adapt what they have learnt through the programme in their own lives.

For example, pupils have been asked how they get to and from school. They don’t get any points if they travel in a car with only themselves as the passenger, but they can score a maximum of five points if they leave no carbon footprint by cycling or walking.

Four auditors assess the schools, gauging power and water consumption as well as recycling efforts in and outside the classroom.

Thrive director Bronwen Lankers-Byrne said all schools had improved a lot since the audits started.

“Our role is to support the schools. The audit can also be very helpful in terms of saving schools money. In the past, we had a school whose water consumption was very high, and we were able to establish that there were leaks on the property,” she said.

The auditors also accounted for factors beyond the schools’ control, such as the drought.

Ms Lankers-Byrne said support from school staff was key.

“If you have a teacher, principal or ground staff who are keen to see their projects succeed, it makes all the difference. Mentors, such as parents, are also appointed, and Thrive is always happy to lend support to this mentor.”

Hout Bay resident and auditor Andy Le May said the team had been honing the audit criteria and questionnaire over the years.

“This has created more confidence among our participating schools that our programme works.”

At Kronendal Primary School, several of eco-friendly initiatives are under way. The school uses LED lighting to save electricity, its worm farm is doing well and there are separate bins for recycling.

In mid-June, the participating schools will give presentations on their efforts to the Thrive team, for which they will also be awarded points. And they can get more points at the Thrive EnviroQuiz/Art Competition in September, before the grand total is tallied at the end of the year.

“The enviro audit is a practical way to save the environment at a very local level. We have estimated that some 3 000 families have already been affected because of their children’s involvement in the project at school,” Ms Lankers-Byrne said. “Our idea is to create a blueprint that can be rolled out to other schools in Cape Town. Sans Souci (in Newlands) already asked us to assist with their own enviro plan, so we are hoping that other schools will follow suit.”

At the end of the school year, eco prizes – such as trips, water tanks and excursions to nature reserves – will be awarded.

The winning school will also receive a floating trophy donated by the Bay Harbour Market.

* All Cape Peninsula schools can enter a four-pupil team in the 2017 Thrive EnviroQuiz/Art Competition in Hout Bay on Friday September 8. Study material for the EnviroQuiz can be found in six Sentinel News articles and at www.thrive.org.za from July 28. The EnviroArt competition brief is available on request. Entry is free and teams can email enviroquizart@thrive.org.za to apply by June 22. Winners stand to win substantial Eco prizes.

Call Bronwen Lankers-Byrne at 082 318 3308 for more information.