Monday, Aug 19th

Last updateWed, 11 Nov 2015 11am

Sunday, 19 June 2016 00:00

Environmental Protection – A Fun Experience for Parent and Child

Written by  Koh Poo Leng, Klang / Translated by Lee Hung Jiew

On June 19, 2016, Parent-child Bonding Class participants from Taman Eng Ann and Setia Alam visited Tzu Chi Taman Meru Recycling Centre. Participant Tong Jian Zhi is seen here learning the environmental protection formula using his ten little fingers. [Photograph by Koh Poo Leng]

Going into the 21st century, natural disasters caused by global warming have become today’s hottest topic. “Everyone Does Recycling” should not merely be a slogan, it is an imperative task. Parent-child Bonding Class from Setia Alam and Taman Eng Ann, Klang, moved their classrooms to the recycling centre, to raise awareness while appreciating the fun of environmental protection.


“Rubbish, trash, do not simply throw here and there; rubbish, trash, causing trouble and burden. Folks, come and help, invite each other to do recycling…” On June 19, 2016, a light exercise using the song, “Everyone Does Recycling”, warmed up the mood for 112 Parent-child Bonding Class students and parents. It was their excursion day to Tzu Chi Taman Meru Recycling Centre, an outdoor experience on environmental protection.

Great spiritual cultivation ground

Tan Lay Choo, volunteer-in-charge of the recycling centre, started by sharing stories on building the centre from scratch for the past five years. She then gave a brief introduction about the facilities. The witty and fun introduction by Lay Choo lightened up everyone and brought smiles to parents and children, who were happy to have learnt something. On a more serious note, Lay Choo said, “Recycling centre is a spiritual cultivation ground that belongs to the community, especially the senior citizens. They come here to practise resource classification, and they are first-class citizens* (waiting for something to do). It is much better than being a third-class citizen at home (waiting for food, to sleep and to die), don’t you think that is right? ”

After the brief introduction, they were split into small groups, led by volunteers to tour around the recycling centre. “You are now walking on the interlock brick pavement. Do you know why we use these interlocking pavers? It is because we believe that everything has a life. We want to let the earth breathe and let the grasses grow,” volunteer Lee Sor Goh shared.

Subsequently, another group led by volunteer Tan Tok Tuan arrived at the clothing area. Piles and piles of clothes waiting to be recycled was a surprising sight for the participants. Tok Tuan quickly added, “What you see today is just the tip of the iceberg. The amount of clothes we received before New Year was what we called ‘scary’. People always like to buy. They buy what they want rather than what is needed. When you get new things, old ones get thrown out. I sincerely hope we can all carefully consider and buy what we need, not what we want.”

At the plastic recycling area, volunteer Wong Chiew Mooi picked up a plastic bottle and an egg carton to demonstrate what can be recycled. “Plastics are categorized into different grades. Can you see a number ‘1’ at the bottom of this PET bottle? This bottle here has ‘2’ printed on it. The numbers mean they are made of different materials. So when you are sorting the bottles, make sure you look properly and sort them correctly,” said Chiew mooi.

Participants were truly impressed walking through the clothing zone, plastic zone and second-hand goods re-selling area. When attention was directed to the water storage tank on top of the roof, volunteers shared stories on water conservation. Participants listened with admiration, sensing the diligent attitude of volunteers. In the eyes of participants, every corner of the recycling centre is telling a story silently, it is truly a spiritual cultivation ground.

Carbon reduction put in action

After the tour around the recycling centre, programme team members, Tan Lee Hwee and Lee Wei Kiat, played two clips during the reflection session. The first clip was a movie about food crisis. Both parents and children could not bear watching scenes of skinny undernourished bodies of little kids in extreme hunger. The second movie, “Midway Island”, tells the sad story about migratory birds found dead at Midway Island. They mistakenly consumed plastic as food and were unable to complete the migration.

It was hard for participants to keep watching those scenes. Kelly Tan, a mum who used to cook a lot shared shyly, “Starting from today, I shall reduce the amount of food I cook. When I cook too much, I need to force my kids to eat and that often results in an unpleasant atmosphere. The food crisis video really hit me; we can reduce disasters simply by reducing our desires.”

After the inspiring movies, volunteer Siow Chee Siong appeared carrying a blue recycling bag, smiled and said hello to the participants, stretched out his hands, and straightened his fingers to teach the environmental protection formula. Some kids could not resist the fun and immediately followed suit, stretching out their hands and fingers and reciting, “(Plastic) bottles, (glass) bottles, (aluminium) cans, (metal) cans, paper, batteries, one, three, five, seven.”

Using the simple formula, resource classification is no longer something to view from afar. Initially, as they entered the resource classification area, parents and children were a little lost, not knowing where to start. After another explanation by Tok Tuan, and with some encouragement, participants took their first step in resource classification.

“Shi gu (addressing the senior volunteer in Mandarin), can this be considered black and white paper?” Holding a stack of newspaper, Yew Zishuen asked with her tender voice. Under Tok Tuan’s guidance, she put the papers into the correct basket and continued with the next item, enjoying every moment of resource classification.

After completing the task, seven-year-old Zishuen happily said, “When I go home later I want to share what I have learnt today with my younger sister. I have learnt that environmental protection can save Planet Earth. Besides, we should not waste food, because I saw the children who have nothing to eat, they are very pitiful.”

Zishuen’s mother, Kelly Tan, who accompanied her daughter in recycling, admitted that it was her first time visiting the recycling centre. She greatly admires the diligent attention given to each detail. Kelly has been practising environmental protection at home, but she felt that it was inadequate. After this visit, she aspires to be more thorough while doing recycling at home.

Lim Yuen Liung, who visited the recycling centre accompanied by volunteer, Ng Poh Eng said, “I have always been doing sorting at home, but after the guided tour by the volunteer, I found out that environmental protection can go further into more details. I have to work harder to learn and put it into action.”

At another corner, Senics Tan, a mother, calmly separates aluminium and steel cans. Senics knew about environmental protection. She has been collecting recyclables at home and bringing them to recycling points close to her home on Recycling Day. “After this trip, I have a better understanding of the importance of environmental protection. I have also realized that we should not just enjoy life, but to do something meaningful. Take the recycling centre elders for example – Tzu Chi has given them a new direction in life and they live a meaningful golden age, which I really admire,” said Senics.

At the aluminium collection zone, eight-year-old Koh Alex skilfully flattened the cans with the iron hammer. He often visits the recycling centre with his mum, hence is quite familiar. While flattening the cans, Alex proudly said, “It is fun pounding the aluminium cans, but more importantly, it is protecting the environment, saving the Earth.”



Environmental protection is not a slogan. Global warming is not a crisis that can be resolved with a two-hour explanation and practice session. We should let more people learn about environmental protection. The only way to slow down global warming is to gather everyone’s effort in carbon reduction, so that our next generation will still be able to experience the four seasons, not a view of disasters.

 

Some children could not bear watching scenes of undernourished kids due to food crisis. [Photograph by Koh Poo Leng]   Volunteer Siow Chee Siong urged the adults and children to stop using Styrofoam, so that we can reduce the burden on the Earth and reduce harming animals. [Photograph by Koh Poo Leng]

Some children could not bear watching scenes of undernourished kids due to food crisis. [Photograph by Koh Poo Leng]
 
Volunteer Siow Chee Siong urged the adults and children to stop using Styrofoam, so that we can reduce the burden on the Earth and reduce harming animals. [Photograph by Koh Poo Leng]
 
Parents leading by example. [Photograph by Koh Poo Leng]   Kids accompanied by their parents involved in resource classification, experiencing the fun. [Photograph by Koh Poo Leng]

Parents leading by example. [Photograph by Koh Poo Leng]
 
 
Kids accompanied by their parents involved in resource classification, experiencing the fun. [Photograph by Koh Poo Leng]
 
Kelly Tan with her daughter Yew Zishuen sorting the papers. Both of them learnt a lot and have a better understanding about environmental protection. [Photograph by Koh Poo Leng]   Senics Tan admires volunteers’ effort in letting the elders have a more meaningful life by doing environmental protection. [Photograph by Koh Poo Leng]

Kelly Tan with her daughter Yew Zishuen sorting the papers. Both of them learnt a lot and have a better understanding about environmental protection. [Photograph by Koh Poo Leng]
 
 
Senics Tan admires volunteers’ effort in letting the elders have a more meaningful life by doing environmental protection. [Photograph by Koh Poo Leng]
 
Yuan Liung learnt about keeping the source clean for environmental protection. He aspires to work hard and practise resource classification at home. [Photograph by Koh Poo Leng]   Eight-year-old Koh Alex often visits the recycling centre with his mother. His favourite is crushing the aluminium cans because it can save the Earth. [Photograph by Koh Poo Leng]

Yuan Liung learnt about keeping the source clean for environmental protection. He aspires to work hard and practise resource classification at home. [Photograph by Koh Poo Leng]
 
 
Eight-year-old Koh Alex often visits the recycling centre with his mother. His favourite is crushing the aluminium cans because it can save the Earth. [Photograph by Koh Poo Leng]