Wednesday, May 22, 2024

Litter ninja gives back to NZ

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Gui Chen says that collecting rubbish has become a hobby as he has zero tolerance for rubbish. Times photo Wayne Martin

He cuts an unusual picture, riding a bicycle with buckets full of rubbish.

Litter ninja Gui Chen Bi spends a lot of time picking up litter from Barry Curtis Park and the surrounding areas near Stancombe Road in Flat Bush.

Every morning, the 67-year old starts his day by putting on gloves and a sun hat then rides his bike with buckets attached on either side.

At the time of the interview the Flat Bush resident had just returned from Otara where he had gone shopping and instead returned with buckets full of discarded bottles, crushed beer cans, plastic cups and other rubbish.

“New Zealand is such a beautiful country and we should continue to keep it clean and green,” says Gui Chen who emigrated from China eight years ago.

With the help of an interpreter, he says that it was his granddaughter who was a source of inspiration for him.

“I had accompanied her to a park and she picked up a candy wrapper that someone had left behind. My granddaughter was only one-and-a-half-years-old then, but when I told her to drop the dirty wrapper, she refused to do so till she found a bin. I was amazed at how well the kindergarten she attended had instilled good values in her.

“It struck me that we have come to this beautiful country to live with our children and are living a happy life here. I wanted to give back in some way so I decided to contribute for my second home country by doing something as small as picking up rubbish every day.”

Gui Chen, who used to live in Howick with his son and went swimming everyday to Lloyd Elsmore swimming pool, says he first started with collecting rubbish from both sides of the road on his way to the pool and back.

Good samaritan, Gui Chen Bi

“I did this for seven years till I moved to Flat Bush last year.”

He gets a little emotional talking of the time his former wife was very ill and was hospitalised. “She got good care and we were not charged anything for it. I am very grateful for that,” says the good Samaritan

“Now collecting rubbish has become a hobby. I have zero tolerance for rubbish, be it on the road, parks, bus stop or railway station. Wherever there is rubbish, I pick it up and bin it.

“As a retired migrant who can’t speak English, it’s hard for me to do lots of things for this country. But I can certainly wake up at 4am every day and, after exercising at Barry Curtis Park, clean up the litter and dried leaves.

“On the morning of New Year’s Day I collected a total of eight buckets of rubbish because some people lit fireworks on New Year’s Eve. The garbage truck was following me and waited for me to empty the trash,” he reveals with pride.

Part of the Pakuranga Chinese Association, Gui Chen sometimes gets the members to help him collect rubbish at Barry Curtis Park and hopes that more migrant communities follow suit.





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