Our children are going to be most affected by our actions and their children by their actions. Therefore to break this cycle it is more imperative now than ever to sensitise the children of today about the environment and the effects of human activities on it.
Let us look at the world in 2050 when our children will be adults, here are some worrying facts;
- The world population is expected to increase from to over 9 billion in 2050. A growing population is likely to increase pressures on the natural resources some of which supply energy and food.
- Air pollution will overtake contaminated water and lack of sanitation as the prime cause of premature mortality across the globe, potentially rising to 3.6 million deaths per year—mostly in China and India
- Plastic production is expected to almost quadruple by 2050. Despite the growing demand, just 5% of plastics are recycled effectively, while 40% end up in the landfill and a third in fragile ecosystems such as the world’s oceans.
- The ocean is expected to contain one tonne of plastic for every three tonnes of fish by 2025, and by 2050, more plastics than fish [by weight]
- 40 million people will be at risk from rising sea levels
- Human-caused global warming is expected to increase by three degrees Celsius
So basically the Earth in 2050 will be hot, crowded, polluted and overflowing with plastic, a scary place! Can we ACT on this?
Environmental scientists have identified that increasing isolation from nature is one of the five major causes of the environmental problems we face. Without an understanding of our utter dependence on nature for food, shelter, clean air, clean water, and many other natural resources and services, we become more likely to degrade our environment.
The ACT School program focuses on sustaining the environment and society, helps students to understand and to reverse such degradation and to contribute positively to the environment and thus to their own well-being.
The program aims to sensitise students but after sensitizing there is action as well. The students are taken through simple but powerful ideas on how they can contribute significantly to real problems.
The program has narrowed down on two important areas i.e waste management and plantation.
WASTE MANAGEMENT AND PLANTATION
Under this ACT School program, students are taken through classroom and practical sessions. As a part of the program, they are assigned a project related to waste management with effective segregation. The program also includes outdoor assignments and clean up and plantation drives.
Students learn that the most important factors in tackling the waste problem are:
- Reduction of wastage through conscious consumption
- Proper segregation of daily waste
- Composting of wet waste
- Channelising dry waste items on a regular basis to recyclers
To ensure that the students understand the issue and work towards a real solution, they are given a 30 day home project where they are required to segregate the daily household waste and monitor recyclable items. The end objective is to ensure that the refuse waste handed out to the garbage collector reduces over a period of 30 days and more items are given for recycling.
“Improper waste segregation leading to overflowing landfills is a serious problem that we are facing not just in Mumbai but worldwide. Our objective of hosting the sessions in schools is to ensure that children who are our future leaders have a clear understanding of the issue and are given proper direction to tackle this problem. Even if some of the students are able to convert their homes towards zero waste in the long term we will consider our project successful” says Saurabh Gupta, Founder Earth5R.
“Apart from waste management, we educate students on the importance of green covers through plantations drive and clean up drives to give them a real understanding of the problems of pollution” added Saurabh.
The ACT School program has already rolled out in 2019 starting from Mumbai for high school students. The program will be taken nationally across schools for maximum impact. Our children will ACT for building a better world for themselves even if we don’t!
Reference sheet of waste items:
|Waste item||Type of waste||Details||Disposal method|
|Fruits/ fruit peels||Wet||Kitchen waste||Compost|
|Egg shells||Wet||Kitchen waste||Compost|
|Leftover food||Wet||Kitchen waste||Compost|
|Meat/chicken bones||Wet||Kitchen waste||Compost|
|Tea leaves||Wet||Kitchen waste||Compost|
|Coffee powder||Wet||Kitchen waste||Compost|
|Plants & leaves||Wet||Kitchen waste||Compost|
|Coconut shells||Wet||Kitchen waste||Compost|
|Sanitary napkins||Refuse||Sanitary waste||Hand over to garbage collector|
|Diapers||Refuse||Sanitary waste||Hand over to garbage collector|
|Earbuds||Refuse||Sanitary waste||Hand over to garbage collector|
|Human hair and nails||Refuse||Sanitary waste||Hand over to garbage collector|
|Sweeping dust||Refuse||Sanitary waste||Hand over to garbage collector|
|Used cotton||Refuse||Sanitary waste||Hand over to garbage collector|
|Soiled paper/ tissues||Refuse||Sanitary waste||Hand over to garbage collector|
|Cigarette ends||Refuse||Sanitary waste||Hand over to garbage collector|
|Medicines & syrups||Refuse||Hazardous waste||Hand over to garbage collector|
|Syringes||Refuse||Hazardous waste||Hand over to garbage collector|
|Sharp objects||Refuse||Hazardous waste||Hand over to garbage collector|
|Blades||Refuse||Hazardous waste||Hand over to garbage collector|
|Paints and chemicals||Refuse||Hazardous waste||Hand over to garbage collector|
|Toxic and flammable items||Refuse||Hazardous waste||Hand over to garbage collector|
|Light bulb/ tube light||Refuse||Hazardous waste||Hand over to garbage collector|
|Broken glass||Refuse||Hazardous waste||Hand over to garbage collector|
|Newspaper||Dry recycle||Paper||Hand over to recycler|
|Books, magazines||Dry recycle||Paper||Hand over to recycler|
|Envelopes||Dry recycle||Paper||Hand over to recycler|
|Letters/ paper bits||Dry recycle||Paper||Hand over to recycler|
|Cereal boxes||Dry recycle||Paper||Hand over to recycler|
|Cartons & boxes||Dry recycle||Paper||Hand over to recycler|
|Courier packaging||Dry recycle||Paper||Hand over to recycler|
|Pizza boxes||Dry recycle||Paper||Hand over to recycler|
|Bubble wrap||Dry recycle||Plastic||Hand over to recycler|
|Plastic bags||Dry recycle||Plastic||Hand over to recycler|
|Plastic containers||Dry recycle||Plastic||Hand over to recycler|
|Takeaway food boxes||Dry recycle||Plastic||Hand over to recycler|
|Toys||Dry recycle||Plastic||Hand over to recycler|
|Plastic bottles||Dry recycle||Plastic||Hand over to recycler|
|Bottle caps||Dry recycle||Plastic||Hand over to recycler|
|Shampoo bottles||Dry recycle||Plastic||Hand over to recycler|
|Cans/ tin||Dry recycle||Metal||Hand over to recycler|
|Aluminium foil||Dry recycle||Metal||Hand over to recycler|
|Deodorant can||Dry recycle||Metal||Hand over to recycler|
|Old utensil||Dry recycle||Metal||Hand over to recycler|
|Pots/ pans||Dry recycle||Metal||Hand over to recycler|
|Batteries||Dry recycle||Electronic waste||Hand over to recycler|
|Charger||Dry recycle||Electronic waste||Hand over to recycler|
|Wires/ cables||Dry recycle||Electronic waste||Hand over to recycler|
|Mobile phones||Dry recycle||Electronic waste||Hand over to recycler|
|Laptop||Dry recycle||Electronic waste||Hand over to recycler|
|Computer||Dry recycle||Electronic waste||Hand over to recycler|
|Old clothes||Dry recycle||Clothing waste||Hand over to recycler|
|Cloth rag||Dry recycle||Clothing waste||Hand over to recycler|
|Glass bottles||Dry recycle||Glass waste||Hand over to recycler|
|Glass jars||Dry recycle||Glass waste||Hand over to recycler|
|Leather||Dry recycle||Natural material||Hand over to recycler|
|Sponge||Dry recycle||Reusable||Hand over to recycler|
|Rubber||Dry recycle||Reusable||Hand over to recycler|
|Mattress Coir||Dry recycle||Reusable||Hand over to recycler|
|Tetra Packs||Refuse||Non recyclable||Hand over to recycler|
|Snacks/ chip packs||Refuse||Non recyclable||Hand over to garbage collector|
|Thermocol||Refuse||Non recyclable||Hand over to recycler|
-Written by Marya Lanewala, Volunteer and Project Coordinator