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Schools, Education Ministry can do more for the environment

It is heartening to see the attention that the Government is giving to tackling excessive waste production and raising awareness of proper recycling habits.

Schools, Education Ministry can do more for the environment

Schools should ramp up efforts to teach and remind students about proper recycling habits to reduce the odds of contamination, urges a reader.

It is heartening to see the attention that the Government is giving to tackling excessive waste production and raising awareness of proper recycling habits.

Designating 2019 as the Year Towards Zero Waste, the authorities are sending a strong message that combating climate change and environmental destruction is a key priority.

More can be done, however, especially in schools and educational institutions.

Schools are integral to shaping the character and outlook of our youth and there is no better place to begin instilling environmental awareness in our people.

Climate change is a pressing problem and how schools are run should reflect that urgency.

I have several suggestions for the Ministry of Education and schools on the larger role they can play in Singapore’s efforts to preserve our planet.

First, schools should use only paper certified by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC). The FSC, a global non-profit organisation, supports sustainable forestry.

Using FSC-certified paper ensures that schools use only paper produced in a manner that is environmentally and socially sustainable.

Second, there should be an assurance that the recyclables collected in schools are, well, recycled.

In many schools, recyclables are thrown away with general waste despite efforts by students to sort their trash into recycling bins.

I understand that this happens because recyclables are often contaminated. This makes them less suitable for recycling.

The recyclable waste generated in schools is also far too minute that disposing of them with general waste makes the process much easier.

These problems are not too big to handle, though. For instance, students should be taught and reminded of proper recycling habits to reduce the odds of contamination.

Finally, greater effort is needed to reduce the use of disposables. Schools should phase out disposable straws and utensils in canteens.

At school events where food is served, students and staff should be reminded to bring their own containers and cutlery.

Bottled water should be provided only on request.

While these suggestions may be challenging to roll out, environmental action far outweighs concerns about convenience.

Schools nurture our next generation. Let us create an environment that allows our youth to learn the proper way of treating our planet.

Related topics

environment schools recycling climate change

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