Kids lead the way in estate's clean and green drive

Five-year-old Melissa Choo (right) joining her brother, nine-year-old Choo Yong Sheng (in red), in the mass clean-up in Henderson Heights yesterday. All in, about 150 children took part in the event.
Five-year-old Melissa Choo (right) joining her brother, nine-year-old Choo Yong Sheng (in red), in the mass clean-up in Henderson Heights yesterday. All in, about 150 children took part in the event.PHOTO: TIFFANY GOH FOR THE STRAITS TIMES

Around 150 children between ages five and 13 became "Green Ambassadors" yesterday as they went around the void decks and common areas of Henderson Heights, an estate in Bukit Merah, to pick up litter.

Armed with metal tongs, they cleared away discarded items like cigarette butts, tissue paper and plastic bottles.

The event was organised by the Henderson-Dawson Citizens' Consultative Committee, to cultivate love and care for the environment among the estate's young residents.

The children are from the We Love Learning Programme, a grassroots initiative which promotes creative learning and provides learning opportunities for children from low-income families.

"We want to let the children have a stake in their living spaces and, most importantly, show a good example to their parents to influence their behaviour," said Mr Ko Yang, who coordinates the programme.

Primary 6 pupil Mohammad Haikel Mohammed Rafik, 12, from Queenstown Primary School, said he learnt the importance of keeping the environment clean and hygienic for his neighbours.

Asked how he would do his part to keep Singapore clean, he said: "I will pick up litter and then wash my hands."

Fellow Green Ambassador Ike Nasr Val Junior Somteo, 11, said he learnt that water could collect in a discarded container, resulting in mosquito breeding.

"Now I will remind my friends to throw their rubbish into the dustbin," said the Primary 5 pupil from Zhangde Primary School.

MP for Tanjong Pagar GRC, Ms Joan Pereira, said there are many initiatives to encourage people to go green, but found it more impactful for the children to start in the neighbourhood where they live.

She hopes that parents, seeing their children take the lead, will follow suit and recognise the role that they too have to play in protecting the environment.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 06, 2016, with the headline 'Kids lead the way in estate's clean and green drive'. Print Edition | Subscribe