Munch on the Move was the brainchild of the Reilly siblings, Jemima, 8, and Gabriel, 12, with the centrepiece of the programme being a large wire model of a coelacanth, a prehistoric fish once thought to be extinct, but discovered to be very much alive along the Eastern Cape coast in the 1930s.
Created by the trust and community wire worker Cosmas Hawker, Munch the coelacanth’s “body” has been divided into five waste compartments – for recyclable plastic caps, polyethylene terephthalate (Pet) plastic bottles, paper, high-density polyethylene (HDPE) plastic items and aluminium cans.
The idea is to move Munch around between schools to inspire a recycling ethos and, tying in with this approach, it is being piloted at Mfesane Secondary School in Motherwell, Port Elizabeth.
SST education head Nozi Mbongwa says the aim of the programme is to reduce plastic pollution on school grounds around Africa.
“Munch is being used together with various support aids as the key tool to get the children excited about recycling.”
Mfesane teacher Patricia Mapuma, who co-ordinates the school’s environment club, says she and the pupils are excited about the programme.
“The environmental club pupils are always seeking opportunities to reduce the waste within our school, and this is going to be a fun project for them to champion.
“This programme is going to encourage environmental responsibility among all the pupils, and hopefully they’ll take the message back to their homes.”
Jemima says she and her brother wanted to raise awareness about plastic pollution after they saw a video about a turtle that had a straw lodged in its nose.
“We wanted to get Munch because there’s a lot of rubbish on the beach that we don’t want the fish to eat.”
The plan is for the programme to be rolled out to four more schools – two in Port Elizabeth and two in Gauteng – later in the year.