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Tuesday, 20 September 2016 00:00

A Unique Recycling Experience for East Malaysian Students

Written by  Julie Yen Yu Chu, Melaka / Translated by Chung Kok Kang

Forty-one students and four teachers from Lodge Primary National School visited a Tzu Chi recycling centre to enhance awareness on environmental protection thereby implementing recycling in their daily life. [Photograph by Alex Tan Ah Lek]

A group of Primary 6 students were heavily tested when doing recycling personally. Be it the various kinds of rubbish or the filthiness and unpleasant smell, the children finally understood the hard work of recycling volunteers and the utmost importance of environmental protection.


Tzu Chi volunteer, Yo Bee Kiow was excited to play host to the first visiting group from East Malaysia. Although the trip was on short notice, she was grateful that all volunteers were supportive and cooperative in making the educational excursion possible for the students.

The group comprised of 41 students and 4 teachers from Lodge Primary National School, and their intended destination was Singapore. However, due to the Zika virus epidemic, the group had to re-route to Johor Bahru and Melaka.

One of the teachers, Phong Cheng Ling, who is also a Tzu Chi volunteer, grabbed the opportunity to arrange for an educational trip to Tzu Chi Air Keroh Recycling-cum-Education Centre in Melaka. The aim was to increase the students’ awareness and encourage them to practise recycling in their life.

Learning proactively

The group arrived at the recycling centre at 3 pm on September 20, 2016, and was greeted warmly by volunteers. They were divided into two groups to tour around the recycling centre, and the second-hand section. Classification of resources was briefly explained.

Even though it was challenging for the volunteers to express and communicate in English, they wisely combined their explanations with vivid body language. Hence, it was an enjoyable learning experience for the children.

After a preliminary understanding on resource classification, the group proceeded for a classroom learning presented by volunteers Kerk Peck Hoon and Tan Bee Chui. With the aid of photos, videos, text, music and Q&A session, students were stimulated to think, thereby deepening their understanding on environmental protection.

The students were actively engaged in learning recycling. Some students took photos on the slides while some made notes diligently. It was a joyous learning atmosphere with everyone interacting openly with the presenters.

Recycling and life are inseparable

One student, Ong Rui Yu, informed that she would share what she had learnt with her family. She added that global warming is on the rise thus, the need to pay attention on pollution issues and implement the 5Rs (Refuse, Reduce, Reuse, Repair, Recycle) in daily life to prevent further destruction on Earth. The fact that mosquito breeding and global warming are rising in tandem has left an indelible impression on her.

She strongly agreed with the implementation of rubbish segregation enforced by the Melaka State Government since September 1, 2015, as it would enhance the concept of environmental protection. She hopes that Sarawak State Government would follow suit soon.

She has also learnt that the carbon emission to produce 1 kg of beef is equivalent to driving for three hours. She said thoughtfully, “I would consume more vegetables and less meat in future since food and eating habits are correlated to environment.” The graduation trip to Tzu Chi’s recycling centre has proved rewarding to her.

Experiential learning

After the presentation, the students and teachers moved to the sorting area for hands-on experience. They even sorted the rubbish accumulated during the trip. One of the students, Lau En Rhong, was very focused. He would seek clarification when he was unsure on the right category for the rubbish.

In one of the plastic bags, there were fruit scraps and rubbish in a plastic container. All the students were disturbed by the sight of it except En Rhong. After checking with the volunteers, he cleared the container by throwing away the rubbish.

“Where can I wash this?” En Rhong asked. He had obviously remembered the concept of “clean at source” which he learnt in the earlier session. He offered to rinse the dirty plastic container and asked his peers for more of the same as he knew his action would help protect the Earth, and at the same time, prevent bacteria from breeding.

He later shared with volunteers that the fruit scraps and rubbish were leftovers from snacks left by the students during the journey. He noted items which could be recycled, and will practise “cleaning at source” to protect the Mother Nature.



Cheng Ling requested a copy of the information shared in class from volunteers so that she can pass on the knowledge to other students and Tzu Chi volunteers in East Malaysia. It was a fruitful learning trip and she appreciated the efforts from Tzu Chi volunteers in making their visit possible. Hopefully this group of teachers and students can influence more people into recycling.

 

Through photos, videos and text, volunteer Kerk Peck Hoon created an awareness on environmental protection. [Photograph by Alex Tan Ah Lek]   Lau En Rhong (right) was very focused in sorting the recyclables. When in doubt, he would clarify with volunteers in order to sort them properly. [Photograph by Alex Tan Ah Lek]

Through photos, videos and text, volunteer Kerk Peck Hoon created an awareness on environmental protection. [Photograph by Alex Tan Ah Lek
 
Lau En Rhong (right) was very focused in sorting the recyclables. When in doubt, he would clarify with volunteers in order to sort them properly. [Photograph by Alex Tan Ah Lek]
 
Teacher Phong Cheng Ling eagerly sought the classroom materials from a Tzu Chi volunteer. [Photograph by Alex Tan Ah Lek]   Ong Rui Yu took down notes and hopes to share what she had learnt with her family. [Photograph by Alex Tan Ah Lek]

Teacher Phong Cheng Ling eagerly sought the classroom materials from a Tzu Chi volunteer. [Photograph by Alex Tan Ah Lek]
 
 
Ong Rui Yu took down notes and hopes to share what she had learnt with her family. [Photograph by Alex Tan Ah Lek]