Hills campaign against plastic waste

Kolkata: 23 Dec, 2018 (Times of India)

World Wide Fund for Nature in India (WWF-India) and Zero Waste Himalaya organised a teachers’ camp from across schools in the Hills to address the problem of plastic waste and spread awareness about climate change.

About 30 teachers from Darjeeling, Kalimpong and Sikkim participated in the three-day camp at Majithar that concluded on Thursday to build a pool of educationists who will enable environmental leaders in educational institutions and the society.

The problem of plastic waste in the Hills has acquired enormous proportions. During the ‘Himalayan Clean Up’ earlier this year, volunteers gathered several thousand tonnes of plastic waste and discovered that towns and villages in the Hills did not have any way of dealing with plastic waste.

“The problem of plastic waste in the Hills has become so acute that it needs to be immediately addressed and at the grassroots level. We believe that educational institutions play a key role, and teachers form the backbone to the formation of a mass of critical change makers. The objective of the workshop is to build a pool of teachers who will enable environmental leaders in educational institutions and society,” said Deependra Sunar, associate co-ordinator of WWF-India, Darjeeling field office.

The teachers were acquainted with several methods to deal with plastic waste and sensitised about ecology and climate change.

“Children often purchase chips and soft drink sold in plastic bottles. These two things are the biggest components of plastic waste. The teachers can talk to their students on this topic and sensitise them about the long-term hazards they pose to our environment,” said Sunar.

“Teachers themselves need to be role models and lead by example to influence their students into following practices that are sustainable and for taking collective action. Given the crisis that the planet is not enough is being done at the school level to sensitise students about environmental issues, and as educationists it is our responsibility to talk to students on this topic,” said Kamlesh Rai, a teacher at the camp.