May 31 2012
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Eco-Club prompts pupils to cut down on soft drinks
Thursday, May 31, 2012
Abu Dhabi Pupils at an Abu Dhabi school have cut down on fizzy drinks — benefiting both their health and the environment.
The pupils had been collecting soft drinks cans for recycling as part of their school’s Eco-Club activities but a video on the hazards of fizzy drinks prompted them to go one step further.
Ninth-grader, Mohammad Bilal, 15, who is also president of the Eco-Club at Islamia English School, told Gulf News he saw a video on the health hazards of drinking cola.
Eco-Clubs have been formed at schools as part of the Sustainable Schools Initiative, which was launched by the Environment Agency-Abu Dhabi ( EAD ) in 2009 and supported by the Abu Dhabi Education Council ( Adec ). It is an initiative addressing students, parents, teachers, administrative and non-teaching staff to reduce their carbon footprint and promote sustainability.
The Eco-Club president said the video depicted how eggshells dissolved in cola. As eggshells are made of calcium, teeth and bones, which are also made of calcium will also be affected by cola, he said. He used to drink two or three colas a week but now is determined to drink cola just once or twice a month.
Apart from health hazards, the environmental impact of fizzy drinks influenced Ebrahim Zahid, 14, a ninth-grader. Too much energy is used to make cans and drink, he said. The production of cola also causes over-exploitation of groundwater and water pollution. A lot of harmful chemicals are also used in fizzy drinks, Zahid said. He used to have at least five cans of cola a week, which he has now reduced to two. “I am sure I can gradually stop taking it,” Zahid said.
But Hassan Sarwar, another grade nine pupil, went one step further and has stopped drinking fizzy drinks completely. “I did not take it ever since I watched that video at school about two weeks ago,” he said.
Gayatri Raghwa, Deputy Manager, Environmentally Sustainable Schools Section at EAD and member of the evaluation committee said environmental conservation has been on the curriculum for long time. “But we are looking for new methodologies and approaches to spread environmental awareness.”
She said the Sustainable Schools Project began with 23 schools and now has more than 103 schools participating. In this academic year 30 out of 103 schools have been shortlisted for the final phase of evaluation of which 18 schools are in Abu Dhabi, 7 in Al Ain and 5 in the Western Region, Raghwa said.
carbon footprint rated
Schools that join the Sustainable Schools Project are expected to assess their school’s environmental impact and address it through improved performance each year. They do this by conducting the green school audit which measures their consumption of land, energy, air, waste and water and developing plans to reduce this impact. They also empower students to reach out to the community through running environmental clubs, training their teachers on methods to impart environmental concepts and exposing their students to field trips which help promote experiential learning of the environment. The winning schools will be rewarded in the Sustainable Schools Awards Ceremony 2011-2012 which is scheduled to be held on June 6.
By Binsal Abdul Kader ?Staff Reporter
© Gulf News 2012. All rights reserved.
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