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Upcycling to reduce waste generation

Reader encourages her students to use disposable items to creae craft

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The world creates 3.2 billion kilograms of trash every day, as stated by the World Bank. This figure is expected to rise in the next few years. But, what are we doing to slow down this figure?

I believe that if students are inspired at a young age to be cautious and protect Mother Nature, at an older stage it becomes easier to replicate these habits. There is satisfaction in knowing that you can make a difference in inculcating useful habits in the lives of so many young lives.

As an arts and craft teacher, in the year 2009, I decided to make my students more sensitive and adherent towards the environment, by using only habitat-friendly material. After this, there was no looking back.

We used materials like empty soda bottles, their caps, CD’s, paper plates, sponges, disposable spoons and more such items that are not biodegradable to make fancy pieces of craft. A simple form of upcycling.

For my first piece I used an empty soda bottle, which I covered with fancy ropes and laces, and used it as a pot for a plant. With National Day coming up soon, I decided to create the UAE flag using 1,000 bottle caps.

Rajeev Madhan, the headmaster at my school, believes that it is necessary for people to realise that waste management is an essential part of our lives. Through such campaigns, we can change people’s mindsets.

He said: “School is the best place to take such brave steps to make every stakeholder aware of the consequences of improper waste management. In fact, through schools, each home will become a hub of proper waste management and recycling. This will lead to global cleanliness.”

He recommends redesigning the school curricula to incorporate different techniques of waste management in it.

He said: “The attitude that ‘it is not in my cup of tea’ should be changed. People should be made to think that it is the responsibility of each and every one of us.”

Rohan Kapur, a student based in Sharjah, agrees that more needs to be done to raise awareness and awareness campaigns can make a difference.

He said: “Spreading awareness amongst people creates a quantum effect, which is what is desired in a world like today, because the more people that are in on the clean initiative, the better results we will be able to achieve.”

As someone who manages his own student-led green initiative, Serve The Earth, Kapur is convinced that waste management is necessary and people need to act immediately.

He said: “Simple campaigns not only inspire people to try and achieve more, but it also ensures that there is a correct method of managing the large amount of recyclable waste that is generated on a daily basis, all around the world.”

Through this report, I would like to highlight the need for all of us to change out habits. I think it is important for more such activities to find ground all around the world, as that will lead to a healthier, and sustainable future for the generations to come.

— The reader is a teacher based in Sharjah.

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