A triple combination of ISY’s environmental service learning groups recently banded together to fight off trash in Yangon and raise awareness! From January 18th to January 22nd, Trash Week had all 3 ASAs assembled and contributing their part, tackling the big bad trash villain while raising awareness about environmental issues both globally and locally. Global brings to you an in-depth look at each service group’s process, the challenges they overcame, and their overall outlook of the event.
Eco Schools held an art competition featuring works created under the one condition that the main material had to be trash or other recycled materials. Green Initiative encouraged environmental awareness by five virtual Zoom background posters, one for each day of the week. Meanwhile, Community Action’s environmental group held an Eco-Bricks competition that will be used to build the Hlaing Thar Yar Bottle School.
Green Initiative’s five eye-catching Zoom backgrounds included information on various kinds of waste and its detrimental effects on the environment and included eye-opening statistics. “You don’t really think much about how pressing and prevalent the issue is until you become more educated about it,” said Hayman, a Green Initiative member, “the more I learn, the greater sense of urgency I feel about mitigating the situation.”
Over the course of Trash Week, several students showed their support for raising environmental awareness by arriving to classes with their Zoom backgrounds in place.
The different types of waste awareness posters included:
Monday – The need for environmental wellness
Tuesday – Proper waste disposal and management in homes and communities
Wednesday – The effects of burning trash (an issue very prevalent in Myanmar)
Thursday – Pollutants in water and its effect on ecosystems and human societies
Friday – Food waste and how its carbon emissions can be minimized through composting
Teachers especially commented on these posters, often giving the class reminders of the importance of preserving nature and the small things we can do each day to positively contribute to the health of the planet. Mrs. Frederick even told her IB English class about a time when she visited Ethiopia in 2000 and noticed no plastic was being used. “Everyone went to the market with their own containers for butter,” she recalled, “and the old margarine container I carried with me was worth 12 loaves of bread!” The week after the event, Global asked Bridget, the student leader of Green Initiative, about her thoughts on how it went. “Overall it was a great way for not only the environmental groups to cooperate but also for the school to get together, learn about waste, how to take action on it, and actually do it as a community,” she stated, “however, a challenge we faced was the coordination between the three environmental groups because we haven’t really done something like this before. But by the end of the week, our cooperation and collaboration skills had definitely improved. I think our groups also are more likely to support each other with future projects.”
Whereas, Community Action hosted the Eco-Bricks challenge inviting students, staff, and parents from the ISY community to make Eco-Bricks and deliver them to the school. Eco-Bricks are plastic bottles stuffed full with other dry plastic material, such as plastic bags, straws, or instant noodle packets. They are solid and sturdy, long-lasting, environmentally friendly alternatives to regular bricks. After all the Eco-Bricks were delivered to the ISY Campus, they were picked up by the Hlaing Thar Yar School project organizers, and will be used in the construction of the school. By the 25th of January, there were 39 bottles made for the competition, and the winners that made the most eco-bricks, Shin Shin (G6) and her sister Chu Chu (G1), received a free pizza as their prize.
Eco Schools, as mentioned, held an art competition open to all ISY students. The entries were required to be made from either recycled materials or trash. By giving participants a chance to re-use materials that otherwise may have gone to waste, Eco-Schools was able to reinforce their main goal of making ISY a waste-free and more eco-friendly community.
Participants from various grades entered their artwork entries through a padlet, where they uploaded pictures or videos of their artworks, explained their creative processes and described the materials that they reused. Results of the art competition were announced on January 21, 2020. The lucky winners who received the delicious prize of christmas cookies were Nicole (G8), Shin Shin (G6), Rishona (G5) and Vally (Kindergarten).
Nicole’s entry was a reusable bag that she made by ironing a plastic bag. Through her creativity and crafting skills, she was able to turn a disposable plastic bag that may have been a source of waste into a useful, sturdy bag that can carry many items and most importantly, can be used multiple times.
Shin Shin (G6) submitted a video of herself crafting a pencil holder by cutting a plastic milk bottle. In order to minimize the amount of plastic being disposed of, she made use of the remaining pieces of the bottle by cutting them up and making them into an eraser holder. Her end products were two colorfully decorated pencil holders along with extremely convenient eraser holders that allow the user to locate their erasers with ease.
Another winning entry was Rishona’s (G5) ‘reuse, reduce, recycle’ fish made out of cardboard, newspapers and plastic bags. The different materials that she used in her artwork came together to make up a colorful and cheerful-looking fish conveying the important message to “reduce, reuse, and recycle.” She stated, “I made this in 1 hour and 30 minutes, and I individually cut out all the scales. The hardest part was the cutting and planning.
Last but not least, there was Vally, who made a robot out of many different materials. The robot contained impressive features, such as an eye made out of a bottle cap, an on/off button made out of a yogurt cup, and most importantly a sharp drill made out of cardboard on the top of its head.
The chosen winners of the art contest were promised Christmas cookies as their prize.
The participants’ fun and dynamic ways of expressing their artistic abilities teaches us that if we put our minds to it, our creativity can lead us to a multitude of directions. By seeing the various artworks that were entered in the art contest, we can all learn to think twice before hastily throwing away a material and instead use our imagination to explore the different ways in which it can be reused.
Looking back on this environmental awareness-filled week, it has been so inspiring to watch three of ISY’s environmental service learning groups work together towards a great cause. The student community has brought a lot to the green table as well as became educated by the service groups’ important messages. Global would like to thank everyone that participated in Trash Week and we look forward to celebrating Earth Day this coming April!