By Made Thedy, Equipo de Salud, 29-April-2013
At the beginning of our plastic Waste Sanitation Programme implementation, it was a formidable challenge, because during that time a lot of plastic waste was strewn across the roads up to the site of EBPP schools and on much of the steeply sloping volcanic ash farmland. Plastic waste was increasingly scattered and we decided that the first step we do is awareness and outreach to students of EBPP schools, because we believe it would be good to give the knowledge to the young generation and in the future we expect that they can impart this knowledge to their parents at home. We explained about the benefits (reciclaje) and dangers of plastic waste, when we were educating at the first time many students do not know about the different kinds of plastic waste, and some doubted that this programme will run smoothly.
Sin embargo, from the start in late December 2012, we started with our high school students who were then to group all of the other children into teams and very soon students from all EBPP schools were very enthusiastic. It started small initially but over time many students were interested and frequently asked how to be the best because of the plastic waste awareness, accompanied by drawings, photographs, and video animation about the dangers and benefit of plastic waste. Quite soon, many students begin to start asking about how to tackle the plastic waste in the school environment and in their homes. But there was one big problem that remained unresolved regarding plastic waste: what about other kinds of plastic waste that we cannot recycle?
At the beginning of the concept we only collected used plastic bottles and made it into hanging decorative pots, while for other types of plastic waste we do not know should we do, but then we searched for information on the internet for the further use of plastic waste. We found information that the local government launched a programme for purchasing all types of plastic waste that exist in the communities and paid Rp1,000 per kilogram! And they would collect from a central location!
This was encouragement to further intensify the plastic waste sanitation programme more seriously by the EBPP students. After a few weeks of outreach to students, we proceed to do the collection around the school and on the way to school. All students seemed enthusiastic, but some students still seemed confused about what plastic waste should they collect: they picked up cans, cardboards and noodle cups. But they always asked for clarification each time they picked up, asking “Is this plastic waste sir?” After collecting all rubbish in their areas, we gathered the students and further clarified what is meant by plastic waste in accordance with which they collected. Collecting continued until the volume was more and more from day to day, not only from the school environment but also students were encouraged to bring plastic waste from their home environment. We collected all the plastic waste from all EBPP schools every week.
One time students asked how to collect plastic waste in a dirty place, because during our previous collection activity we picked up directly by hand, and finished the activities we do wash our hands with soap. We and the students agreed to take advantage of bamboos that grows in our school environments and our homes to be used as a clamp to pick up plastic waste.
After three months of waste collection activities, the quantity of plastic waste collected from all EBPP schools was up to 600 kilograms! We contacted the local government waste section and they collected the plastic that we had organised into big plastic sacks, and they weighed the plastic waste and directly paid Rp. 600,000.
From the beginning, the waste collection was a competition between EBPP schools; wthe money from the plastic waste sale going into a fund for each school with a target that the hamlet of EBPP schools that collects the most plastic waste, the money will fund a free excursion or tour to an educational environmental centre. Students got very excited when the announcement was given, and the student promised to be more active and diligent to collect plastic waste from the school environments and their homes.