‘It’s up to us’: Meet the incredible Portchester youngsters on a plastic-free mission

ALL of us know about the dangers of continuing to throw away single-use plastics, and the damage they are doing to our planet.

Wednesday, 8th May 2019, 9:17 pm
Year R pupil Alfie Ivemey (5) at Wicor Primary School makes his very own toy without the use of any plastic. Picture: Malcolm Wells

But still, many of us fail to make the small lifestyle changes necessary to make the world a cleaner place.

Now, a school in Portchester is showing the rest of the Solent how it’s done, with pupils putting their elders to shame.

Wicor Primary School has been building a pro-environment atmosphere for the past three years, working to stamp out plastic waste across the school.

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Year R pupil Alfie Ivemey (5) at Wicor Primary School makes his very own toy without the use of any plastic. Picture: Malcolm Wells

While this has been a major success – with lunchtime jellies no longer served in pots and an emphasis on making things from scratch – it is the children who have really taken the message on board.

Yesterday marked the 93rd birthday of Sir David Attenborough, and a nationwide Plastic Free Day, which the pupils were all keen to celebrate.

Reception classes looked at classic toys such as wooden dolls and trains, while other classes took part in litter picking and even making their own elderflower cordial.

The Year 4 students have truly taken the issue to heart – and have an unrivalled determination to put things right.

Gathering elderberries to make their very own cordial - (left to right) Zac Hall (10), Jamie Littlefield (10), Lily McElroy (9), Genevieve McNie (9). Picture: Malcolm Wells

‘It’s up to us to make a difference,’ said Lily McElroy.

‘We are the ones who have to do the right thing, to get rid of plastics.’

Zac Hall, also in Year 4, said: ‘In Bali the ocean is full of plastic even though they barely use any in that country.

‘That’s our plastic, it’s our fault.’

Classmate Jamie Littlefield added: ‘Plastic Free Day is about getting other schools to do what we do.

‘We make our own tea, honey, sausages and soap at the school and other schools can do that too.’

It is this mindset that can help put the world right, and it’s developed from their very first day at school.

Reception teachers Emily Cawthorne and Lauren McLean have heard stories from their pupils about what they’re doing to fight plastic waste.

Miss McLean said: ‘These children come in and tell us exactly what they’ve been up to.

‘I don’t think people realise how passionate they are about this, despite only being four and five years old.’

Miss Cawthorne added: ‘They’ll tell us how they went to a cafe and said they didn’t want a plastic straw – it’s little things like that which make a big difference.

‘It makes us feel really proud to know how much they care.’