Students Against Plastic in Schools, Pledging to Protect the Environment

“I was agitated when I saw our playground littered with plastic bottles and packages every day after lunch,” said Sadman, a student in the 8th grade at Rama Krishna Mission High School. “Plastic is one of the most harmful substances to our environment. I’ve read that a plastic bottle can stay undecomposed for over 500 years and reduce soil fertility.”
Sadman didn’t let this knowledge go to waste, however. He formed a team of volunteer students from the school’s nutrition club to clean up the playground. “From our Nutrition Club sessions, we learned about how plastics can enter our food chain and harm both our health and the environment,” said Ashik, a member of Sadman’s team. “So, we regularly clean up the playground and dispose of the plastics in a designated bin.”
Nutrition clubs in schools across the country are raising awareness of the harmful effects of single-use plastic and the importance of recycling. Despite this, a large amount of single-use plastics are used and discarded daily in schools. Many students, teachers, and parents are unaware of their impact and often carelessly dispose of these plastics.
These discarded plastics have been accumulating in fields for years due to the lack of recycling in Bangladeshi communities. They sometimes clog sewer lines and cause neighborhoods to overflow with filthy water. In addition, when they are burned in open air, it results in severe air pollution.
Achintya Halder, a teacher at Rama Krishna Mission High School, said, “We’re thrilled that our students are being engaged in positive activities through the Nutrition Club. They rarely have time for co-curricular activities, but now they are and other institutions should follow their lead in banning plastic in educational settings.”
“If we ban single-use plastic in schools, we can significantly reduce non-recyclable plastic use,” Halder added. “Nutrition clubs in schools can take the lead in this campaign.”
Swapnil Bishhash, president of the school’s Nutrition Club, stated, “We want to collaborate with other schools in the area. We aim to hold at least one session per month to raise awareness about the harmful effects of single-use plastic.”
Fatin, a student at the school, shared, “After attending Nutrition Club sessions, I no longer throw plastics everywhere. I once had to walk for a long time with an empty candy package because I couldn’t find a bin. When I finally found one, I disposed of it properly.”
“Ban Plastic in Schools” – This is the clear and loud message that youths from all over the world are conveying to policymakers through the pledges they have made to ensure safe food in a safe ecosystem. This was made possible thanks to the Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN) and The Food Foundation, which have supported the growth of a movement among youths to prevent plastic pollution, particularly in schools.
According to Swapnil, President of the Nutrition Club, the initiative by GAIN has given youths an opportunity to influence policymakers, even if they cannot participate directly in the political and policy-making process. He added that participating in the upcoming International Nutrition Olympiad will be a great learning opportunity for the students as they will be able to interact with experts and nutrition club members from other schools across the country.
Ashiq, a member of the Nutrition Club, expressed his hope that the club will be able to join the International Nutrition Olympiad and win awards with their innovative ideas and performances. He believes that participating in the event will make their activities more effective and impactful.
Bangladesh is facing a substantial waste management problem with a population that produces about 800,000 tons of plastic waste annually, and with garbage being brought in from wealthier nations. In the past 15 years, the amount of plastic waste generated each day has increased by 468 tons. The current scenario depicts the need for a national action plan that will be jointly implemented by the World Bank.

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