CHILDREN frolicking in playgrounds in Sri Lanka, Tanzania, Papua New Guinea, Timor-Leste, Nepal and soon the Philippines can thank an initiative by Rotary clubs, including Mount Martha, for their equipment.
The project, called Rotary Overseas Recycled Playgrounds, sends old, redundant playgrounds overseas when they are no longer wanted and destined for landfill, providing a newfound world of fun for children in the Third World who often do not have even a swing or slide to enjoy.
On Saturday 1 May the Rotarians loaded playgrounds from Alameda Avenue, Mornington, Barber Reserve, Somerville, Robertson Reserve, Balnarring and Iluka Road, Tyabb, into containers.
Their revival and reuse are a win-win for all involved.
The project is being driven by Rotarian Wayne Jenkins of Mount Martha Rotary, who is also the chairman of Rotary District 9820, which covers the peninsula, Frankston and east of Dandenong to the NSW border and then back along the coastline.
Six of the 10 shire councils in the Rotary district have joined the project – including Mornington Peninsula Shire – while the remaining four are being invited to become partners.
Mr Jenkins said when a playground is harvested, project organisers draw up detailed plans as well as codes for each piece so it can be re-assembled at its destination. Rotarians also clean, service and store them before shipping.
There’s minimal cost, with Rotary charging councils and other parties only $750 a playground which covers shipping costs.
“This is a very economical option for councils and ratepayers as it saves them going into landfill or having to go down the recycling pathway,” said Mr Jenkins, adding that it would otherwise cost councils $3000-$3500 to remove and tip the old playgrounds.
“As Rotary is all voluntary labour, no additional costs are included.”
He described the program as “cost effective, environmentally friendly, carbon neutral, and landfill negative, while improving the lives and enjoyment of less fortunate children in the Third World”.
Mr Jenkins said Rotary worked with shire councils, schools, other organisations and individuals who have playgrounds needing removal.
There’s no shortage of demand, with a Rotary Governor from Sri Lanka saying they “could take 1000”.
About 2000 of the more than 20,000 playgrounds in Victoria are replaced each year and destined for landfill as they can’t be reused due to legal liability.