Student leaders of Quirino Elementary School in Quezon City are urged to lead by example in the preservation of their community through Tzu Chi’s talk about environmental protection on November 27.
Student leaders of Quirino Elementary School (QES) in Quezon City are urged to lead by example in saving Mother Earth through recycling.
At the behest of the school, Tzu Chi volunteers on November 27 held a short symposium about environmental protection. Some 60 Grade 4 to 6 pupils, class presidents and vice-presidents, and 50 from the school’s parent-teacher organization as well as the faculty attended the talk. The school’s principal, Maricris Santos, believes that this select group is the best to advocate Tzu Chi’s advocacy on environmental protection.
“Hopefully, our wish for them is to advocate this because [waste segregation] is one of the major problems of the community.” explained Santos.
She also explains that the school has only begun using their Materials Recovery Facility (MRF) after years of disuse. This facility acts in a similar capacity to Tzu Chi’s recycling station, a place where recyclable waste is received and sorted. With the symposium, she hopes that the student leaders will develop a sense of responsibility for the environment.
At the start of the program, some students showed little interest in the talk facilitated by Tzu Chi volunteer Michael Siao. But their attitude changed when videos of disasters like Typhoon Ondoy (Ketsana), the volcanic eruption in Guatemala, and the flooding in India played on screen.
“We try to present them with more graphics and videos about the information. Through this graphical scene, they can learn that something like that really happened. There are many disasters happening all around us now.” said Siao.
Other graphical scenes presented include the whale in Norway that died with 30 plastic bags in his stomach. This is only one in many cases of so-called “plastic whales,” brought in part by irresponsible waste disposal.
The symposium ends with a call to action, citing how recycling can benefit the environment. For instance, a 50-kilo stack of recycled paper can save a 20-year-old, 8-meter-tall tree. With production of fresh paper from recycled paper possible, recycling can greatly reduce demand for felling trees.
Tzu Chi volunteers also introduced products made with DaAi Technology, turning PET bottles into blankets; clothes and bags.
With Christmas just around the corner, Grade-6 class president Shaysie Tayone and her class are busy making parol (star lanterns) from PET bottles. The takeaway from the environmental talk solidified her resolve to do her part as a role model to her classmates.
“I’ll encourage my classmates to recycle things inside the classroom to make it less messy,” said Tayone.
Grade-6 student King Lee Rafol has his work cut out for him. As president of the QES Supreme Pupil Government, his responsibility includes encouraging the entire student body to begin their campaign of preserving the cleanliness of their school.
“I’m going to encourage students to follow the teachings [Tzu Chi volunteer] Michael Siao has imparted to us,” Rafol said.