How schools in Delhi are raising awareness about the plastic ban
Organizing poster contests, encouraging students to give speeches, warning against the use of plastic, these are some of the ways in which schools in the nation’s capital are raising awareness of the ban on plastic for use which entered into force on 1 July. Residents’ Aid Associations (RWAs) are also doing their part by educating their members about the ban.
The headmaster of a public school in Shahdara said they were trying to raise awareness among students about the single-use plastic ban by talking about it at the school assembly. Now that schools have reopened after the summer holidays, they will teach students the importance of using alternatives to plastic. Similarly, another public school in North Delhi is planning to hold poster design contests, speech contests to highlight the importance of the ban.
“We have spoken about the ban to our students in the assembly but we plan to organize competitions on the issue. Students learn something very quickly if they hear about it from their peers. For example, if a student gives a speech on the issue of banning plastic, his friends and other students will take notice while if the teachers tell them, it would seem like a boring lesson to them,” he said. said he asked students to refrain from using plastic bottles and disposable cups and to use their alternatives for the sake of the environment.
In May, the Delhi government issued an order requiring all schools in the nation’s capital to set up a separate room on their premises to store reusable utensils as part of its plan to phase out single-use plastic. (UP). The Directorate of Education (DoE) in a letter to schools said they should replace plastic dishes with steel or glass dishes etc. and keep them in a separate store (“bartan bhandar”) .
Private schools said they had been plastic-free for several years and had taken a host of measures for sustainable living. Jyoti Arora, headmaster of Mount Abu School in Rohini, said they have been plastic-free for several years now and even rewarded it during Sheila Dikshit’s tenure as Delhi’s chief minister.
She said students make paper bags from old newspapers which are kept at the entrance to the school. There are various signs in the school that list the harmful effects of plastic. The school also has a paper recycling unit and the school’s eco-club is very active in proposing new initiatives. Sudha Acharya, Head of ITL Public School in Dwarka, said they have been completely plastic free for three or four years. They had started working there since 2014, she added.
Acharya said their students were praised by the Delhi government during the Plastic Vikalp Mela which started on July 1 and will end on July 3. The principal said her students had recently distributed khadi cloth bags to people nearby to raise awareness. At school, the canteen uses disposable wooden cutlery while students have switched to steel water bottles and tiffin boxes.
“Even when buying plastic, students are looking for the quality of the plastic they buy and whether it is biodegradable. At school, we don’t use plastic folders but paper folders that have been painted,” she pointed out. Atul Goyal, president of United Residents Joint Action (URJA), an organization of RWA, said he sensitized his members about the ban and also distributed paper bags to them.
However, he said the ban must be implemented on the ground by the government and stressed that the dispensation should strictly make it a reality.
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