LEITH RIVER REPORT from Wild Things issue 152
By Sylvie Wardell (Age 7, Dunedin, New Zealand)
Hi, my name is Sylvie. I live in Dunedin. We have lots of beautiful wildlife here.
My favourite river is the Leith. It’s Māori name is Ōwheo. I played around it lots when I was a little girl, splishing and splashing around, and our family takes walks nearby.
The Leith river starts on the bush-covered hills, and it goes through the suburbs where people live, and through the University area. It goes all the way down to the harbour, that connects to the ocean. Some specific birds that live near the Leith are the Black-backed Gull, Mallard Ducks, and Paradise ducks. Sometimes you can see cormorants fishing in the part near the harbour.
Parts of the Leith river I have seen have had rubbish and garbage in them.
Last time I went there I saw rubber, plastic, and Styrofoam floating around near the rocks. I picked up a glass bottle and a soda can and we put them in a rubbish bag to take to a bin.
If rubbish stays in the river, any of it can get washed down through the Leith to the sea. Along the way, freshwater creatures, sea creatures and birds can eat it and it can make them very sick. Especially plastic.
My school, Ravensbourne School, went to the Dunedin Wildlife hospital earlier this year. We went on a ferry trip across the harbour. We learned a lot. We learned what kind of native animals they take care of.
Another problem they mentioned, is that poisonous chemicals can get into animals. For example, some chemicals used to wash cars can get washed into streams and rivers and can poison fish.
I think something that would help, could be a rubbish cleanup for anyone who wants to help, around the Leith. Another way to get people to stop throwing garbage in the Leith would be to stick up laminated posters. On the posters it would say: “Stop throwing rubbish in the Leith, to reduce pollution, and help wildlife.”