School pupils learn value of recycling

Saturday September 22, 2018 Written by Published in Education
Apii Avarua year two students and teachers Vaipae Kaokao Teko and Atingata Messine Tereu pictured during the landfill visit. 18092107 Apii Avarua year two students and teachers Vaipae Kaokao Teko and Atingata Messine Tereu pictured during the landfill visit. 18092107

WATSAN director Jamie Short and Infrastructure Cook Islands waste programme coordinator on assignment with VSA, Hilary Boyes, showed a group of year two Apii Avarua pupils around the Rarotonga landfill on Friday.

With the landfill filling up, the staff’s focus is now on recycling to reduce the volume of rubbish.

Boyes showed the children a number of items such as soft drink cans and explained how they could either be reused, recycled or dumped, illustrating the need for careful recycling to reduce waste.

“Biodegradable plastic bags break up, but the broken-up plastic will remain in our landfill forever,” said Boyes. She explained how turtles eat plastic particles thinking they are jellyfish, and sometimes get plastic straws stuck in their noses.

Children were shown how batteries, full of acid and lead, can become an environmental and health hazard. They learned that lightbulbs and cardboard can go into the recycling bin at Foodland supermarket, while waxy cardboard milk containers must go to the landfill.

“There’s a bit to it, but it’s good children start learning young,” Short said.

“The landfill is getting too full, this is only a small island and it is your future,” she told the youngsters.

A poster explaining how to dispose of individual waste items is on the ICI website: http://ici.gov.ck/recycling

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