Award winning school plans to harvest rainwater

National 3 minutes, 27 seconds


THE second ASEAN Eco-Schools awardee, Jerudong Primary School, plans to go beyond its recycling activities to promote green habits among its students and staff.

Simon Gleeson, a CfBT teacher in charge of the school’s recycling project, said there are plans to harvest rainwater collected from the school’s rooftop, which could be used to flush the school’s toilets.

In an interview yesterday, Gleeson said the school is also studying the possibility of installing 40 automatic door closers to conserve power.

The primary school was one of 10 recipients of the ASEAN Eco-Schools award. Another school from Brunei, Muda Hashim Secondary School, received the award for the secondary level at Naypyidaw, Myanmar in July.

The award was presented to 10 primary and 10 secondary eco-schools selected from each ASEAN member state to recognise their exemplary efforts in inculcating environmental awareness in all aspects of education to students and surrounding communities.

Gleeson said Jerudong Primary School has been recycling for three years.

“Occasionally, we receive booklets and documents on guidelines for green school. A memo came to the school from the the Science, Technology and Environment Partnership (STEP) Centre and asked us to complete the green report for the school. I filed in the report and the report was selected based on the criteria,” he said.

The selection of the eco-schools was based on national criteria and the ASEAN Guidelines on Eco-Schools adopted by Southeast Asian environment ministers in 2011.

There are four main criteria: 1) School policy, administration and programme, 2) Linkage to curriculum, global sustainable issues and Islamic values, 3) Resources and green practices, and 4) Partnership and outreach programmes.

“The school is doing well in the third criteria — the resources and green practices. We also have collaboration with local businesses and recycling companies that help support the school and motivate the students (with the recycling project),” he said.

This year, the school has collected almost 2,000 kg of paper, 500kg of plastic, more than 60kg of aluminium and 60kg of metal/tin, he said. “We’ve earned about $250 this year from recycling, which is a big jump from previous years in which we earned $10 a month.”

Gleeson said the main challenge in sustaining the recycling project was motivating students and teachers as well as trying to get the students to sort their recycling. Without motivation, our recycling (programme) will only get $10 a month. “The motivation this year has been ten-fold, we are getting almost $100 in a month from recycling,” he added.

He said students and staff love competitions, which were used as an incentive to boost their motivation. “We’ve got the inter-classroom competition, where each tin can is worth one point, each plastic bottle is worth one point and so on. There is a display outside the staffroom that shows the progress (of each classroom).

“One heart (posted on the display board) is equal to 250 points. There are thousands of points displayed on the board,” he added.

Gleeson said the prize money from the award will go towards improving the school’s recycling programme and green efforts.

“In addition to being recognised as a green school, the $1,000 award prize will allow the school to increase the number of recycling bins in classrooms, upgrade its recycling corner to make it look more attractive and easier for recycling companies to collect (the recycle materials), he said.

He further said it takes individuals who are passionate and committed about recycling to make it work.

“You could delegate an environmental manager in every school but it won’t get the job done. They need passion, commitment and in most cases, competitions so that the teachers can see the rewards from it.

“Brunei is getting there, however you need the support and infrastructure. Most schools do not have a dedicated corner for recycling or an organisational process to help put the resources into that corner for collection,” he added.

Gleeson hoped the school will continue to recycle.

“I hope in the next five years, we would have gone through 30,000 students who will be recycling at home. It will take one generation to change Brunei and if that generation is committed to recycling, Brunei will become green,” he added.

The Brunei Times