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Last updateWed, 11 Nov 2015 11am

Wednesday, 28 October 2015 10:54

Students Say No to Styrofoam to Save Mother Earth

Written by  Koon Yin Cheng & Tsze Hut Sea, Kota Tinggi / Translated by Chew Chiau Ping

Through the seminar, Ezralyn a/p Dayalan learnt how precious water is. She promised to start practising water conservation at home. [Photograph by Lee Keng Sheng]

On October 28, 2015, a group of 16 Tzu Chi volunteers arrived at SJK(C) Yu Hwa on a drizzling afternoon, to advocate environmental protection to students from Year 4 to Year 6. Through images of disasters, the students learnt about the impending danger that Earth faces, whereas the hands-on experience inspired them to treasure Earth’s resources.


 
“Malaysia is blessed with mountainous terrains and white-sand beaches. We have Mt Kinabalu in Sabah, Redang Island with beautiful sea views, and Cameron Highlands with its cool climate, to name a few. These beautiful sights have attracted many tourists each year. So is Malaysia a heaven on Earth?” asked volunteer Tsze Hut Sea to an audience of over 100 students.
 
“Yes, it is heaven!” replied the students. Hut Sea continued, “But now our living environment is facing a crisis. Look at the natural disasters that hit Malaysia in recent years – landslides in Cameron Highlands, East Coast floods in 2014, Sabah earthquake in 2015, windstorm, drought, and haze due to open burning.” Through images of disasters and pollution, the students learnt that it is due to human’s over-consumption of Earth’s resources that the ecological balance is destroyed; and this has further caused global warming and frequent occurrences of disasters.
 
Volunteers also shared with the students the concept of “Five Good Deeds a Day”, encouraging them to conserve water and electricity, observe a vegetarian diet, avoid using disposable tableware, and change the mode of transport to reduce carbon footprints. With daily practice of these conservation efforts, we are saving the ailing Mother Earth.
 
Recycling point relocated to the school
 
In September 2015, the Malaysian Government rolled out the “Waste Separation Programme” to enforce sorting out of recyclables so as to reduce the amount of solid waste. Hence, Principal Wong invited Tzu Chi to give a seminar on environmental protection at the school to enable students to learn about resource classification and to improve their environmental awareness.
 
On the other hand, Tzu Chi’s recycling point at Taman Sri Saujana did not receive much participation from the community due to its inconvenient location. Thus, in early September, volunteers discussed and proposed to relocate the recycling point to the student pick-up/drop-off area at SJK(C) Yu Hwa, and to operate on the fourth Sunday of each month. The suggestion was approved by Principal Wong, who even offered to distribute flyers to the parents to encourage them to recycle. Finally, the recycling point commenced its operation on September 27, from 8.30 am to 11 am; and many community members and parents had dropped by with recyclables.
 
Furthermore, volunteer Chou Khoon Kiong noticed that many parents would wait for their children at the student pick-up/drop-off area after school hours; and that there is a wide and long corridor suitable for displaying posters of Jing Si Aphorisms. Hence, with approval from Principal Wong, volunteers hung bi-lingual (Chinese and English) posters along the corridor, enabling the parents and children to learn from the wise words and nurture the seeds of kindness in them.
 
Fun game on recycling
 
Volunteers prepared a series of programmes, which included songs, videos, hands-on recyclable classification, game on water conservation, explanations using posters and a Q & A session. The practical session coupled with extensive teaching materials were meant to inculcate the concept of environmental protection in the audience. Volunteers also quoted some JingSi Aphorisms to teach the students to “love the mountains, love the water and treasure every resource on Earth”.
 
Principal Wong, who sat through the seminar, was deeply grateful for the volunteers’ efforts. She said, “This is an extraordinary and very meaningful talk. It not only deepened the students’ understanding on environmental protection, but the practical session also taught them the correct way to segregate recyclables.” An environmentalist herself, Principal Wong had been advocating the use of food containers for take-away meals to the teachers since her transfer to the school in August 2015. She also encouraged the students to bring their own containers and banned the use of styrofoam to reduce waste.
 
The students thoroughly enjoyed the fun game on recycling and promised to recycle to conserve Mother Earth.
 
“I had learnt to conserve our environment and stop littering. Now I can tell the recyclables from waste,” said Lee Ang Qin, a student of class 6M. Having learnt that plastics, glass, aluminium, metal, paper, car batteries, clothing, 3C products (computer/communication/consumer), steel, and so on, are recyclables from the “Ten-finger Formula” on recycling, he promised to send such items to the recycling point as part of his conservation effort.
 
“I won’t use styrofoam or disposable chopsticks anymore,” said his classmate, Goh Wen Song, after learning that those items, when heated, would release substances that are harmful to health. Moreover, they are not environmentally-friendly. Besides, the seminar had equipped him with knowledge on recyclable and non-recyclable items, and he promised to put it into practice. 
 
In another activity where the students were asked to carry buckets of water, Wen Song realized that it was not an easy task to accomplish. He felt guilty for spilling some water accidentally as he walked too fast, and vowed to conserve water in future.
 
An Indian student, Ezralyn a/p Dayalan, from class 4M, promised to share the knowledge on environmental protection with her mother and brother. She also learnt the importance of water through the water conservation game. Hence, she promised to reuse water from the kitchen to water plants, water from laundry to mop the floor, and unplug the socket when an electrical appliance is not in use to conserve electricity.
 
The two-hour seminar had raised environmental awareness among the students. The Jing Si Aphorism, “know your blessings, cherish them and sow more blessings” tells them that it is everyone’s responsibility to treasure resources, conserve energy and reduce carbon footprints. Only then can we ensure sustainability of our living environment.

 


 
Tzu Chi volunteers were invited by SJK(C) Yu Hwa to advocate environmental protection to students. [Photograph by Lee Keng Sheng]   The game on water conservation taught the students to save water. [Photograph by Chou Khoon Kiong]

Tzu Chi volunteers were invited by SJK(C) Yu Hwa to advocate environmental protection to students. [Photograph by Lee Keng Sheng]
 
The game on water conservation taught the students to save water. [Photograph by Chou Khoon Kiong]
 
The students experienced the fun of recycling during the hands-on session. [Photograph by Chou Khoon Kiong]   Principal Wong presented a token of appreciation to Tzu Chi volunteers for their efforts in organizing the seminar. [Photograph by Lee Keng Sheng]

The students experienced the fun of recycling during the hands-on session. [Photograph by Chou Khoon Kiong]
 
 
Principal Wong presented a token of appreciation to Tzu Chi volunteers for their efforts in organizing the seminar. [Photograph by Lee Keng Sheng]
 
With the school’s approval, volunteers hung posters of Jing Si Aphorisms along the corridor as a source of inspiration for students and parents. [Photograph by Tsze Hut Sea]    

With the school’s approval, volunteers hung posters of Jing Si Aphorisms along the corridor as a source of inspiration for students and parents. [Photograph by Tsze Hut Sea]