Online green challenge for Melaka schools

SK BANDAR Hilir and SMK Naning capped off this extraordinary school year with a clean sweep in the individual categories of the recent Malaysian Plastics Manufacturers Association (MPMA)-Dow School Environmental Challenge 2020.

The top three individual winners for primary schools were all from SK Bandar Hilir and the top three individual winners for secondary level were all from SMK Naning.

In the overall school category based on total average scores, SK Air Baruk emerged as champions for primary level, and SMK Naning won in the secondary school category.

A total of 27 schools in Melaka and a participating pool of 2,479 students across the state took part in the challenge which ran from Oct 12 to 20 Nov last year.

The winning schools and individuals took home RM26,000 worth of prizes in laptops, tablets, smartphones and cash awards.

At the virtual closing ceremony on Dec 15 last month, MPMA president Datuk Lim Kok Boon said the competition was conducted as an online quiz in response to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.

“Despite the challenges posed by Covid-19, it was important for us to continue with the fifth MPMA-Dow challenge to ensure sustainability of the students’ efforts.

“So we relied on technology to reach out to students and teachers via an online quiz competition, ” he said in a press release.

Secondary: (Left to right): Individual winners Azriel Eiyman Azli, Ruthreshwari Muguntan and Muhammad Irfan Mohd Fairuz.Secondary: (Left to right): Individual winners Azriel Eiyman Azli, Ruthreshwari Muguntan and Muhammad Irfan Mohd Fairuz.

The challenge was a hotly contested online quiz based on an educational module made possible with the collaboration between the Petronas Chemicals Group, Pusat STEM Negara under the Education Ministry, MPMA and Solid Waste Corporation.

The module, entitled ‘Plastic, Sustainability and You’ was designed to complement existing school curricula and emphasised the role everyone has to play in proper waste management, reducing global warming and marine litter.

Lim said the pandemic has made public education on proper plastics waste disposal even more critical.

“Plastic has become a material that is heavily intertwined with our daily lives.

“One clear example is that during the current Covid-19 pandemic, we need lots of personal protective equipment, or what is more popularly known as PPEs.

“However, the higher utilisation of plastics products such as PPEs and food packaging has resulted in higher plastics waste.

“It is therefore even more important now than ever to create awareness on responsible plastic management among students through the practice of waste separation at its source and the 3Rs (Reduce, Reuse, Recycle).”

MPMA hopes to expand its programme to other states across the country.

Said Lim: “We’ve had great success with this programme in Melaka over the last four years and hope that this year, we will be able to expand it to other schools across Malaysia, if not physically, then at least virtually to spread the awareness on responsible plastic management nationwide.

“MPMA believes this is the way forward to address plastic pollution and waste management issues in the country among the youth.”

Introduced in 2016, the MPMA-DOW School Environmental Challenge focuses on raising awareness of anti-littering, understanding the importance and value of plastics and the need for responsibly managing them via post-usage separation at source and the 3Rs.

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