Plastic pollution and the use of plastic in today’s society
2019-01-03 | By German International School of The Hague
One goal of a recent student exchange between eighth-graders from the German International School The Hague and St Kilian’s German School in Dublin was to discover more about the use of plastic and to cultivate awareness in dealing with plastic in their everyday lives.
Students from both schools worked together on a questionnaire inspired by the exchange’s motto, ‘Plastic pollution and the use of plastic in today’s society.’ During the students from Ireland visit to The Hague the questionnaire was prepared and on the reverse trip its results were evaluated. Students revealed thought-provoking questions and answers and found the project also made them think about their own relationship with sustainability and plastic. As one student commented, “I noticed through this project that I never really paid attention to how much plastic I used every week. I was not aware of the environmental consequences especially for the sea and animals.”
During the exchange programme, pupils analyzed the desirability of plastic and found most retailers used unsustainable, single-use plastic packaging for their products, which are often disposed of after a very short time. Sixty percent of the students questioned admitted that they didn’t know what happened to the plastic they threw away, while forty percent felt that they used too much plastic. Almost all the students, ninety-five percent, felt that plastic consumption should be regulated by law.
How can we change?
Motivated by the movie A Plastic Ocean, the students posed their most important question, “How can we protect the oceans from getting polluted with plastics?” The consensus was that we must avoid buying unnecessarily-packaged products, to use cloth, reusable shopping bags, and to purchase recycled and upgraded products where possible. The students also concluded that the schools could do more, starting with cutting their use of cling-film, plastic bags and aluminum foil.
Onno Schroeder, a German International School teacher who accompanied the project, concluded that, “Plastic pollution is and will be one of the negative effects of globalisation and the Western way of living. Raising awareness for this problem and confronting students with other current global issues is more important than ever.”
A great success
The student exchange programme, and the plastic pollution project, was a huge success in raising the awareness of environmental issues in students from both schools, and demonstrating how collaboration inspires and motivates pupils.