What can I do for the waste problem ——IWM NAMA “Sustainable Development Awareness Raising Education Camp” in primary schools

June 4, 2019

Waste management with focus on waste classification is becoming a hot issue in China these days. The country is showing great determination in promoting the municipal solid waste classification action. According to the newest plan of Ministry of Housing and Urban-Rural Development (MoHURD), all major cities in China are expected to initiate waste classification this year, and the system should be completed and functioning by the end of 2025. Xi Jinping, the Chinese president, also stressed that waste classification is the “new fashion” and underlined that efforts to cultivate the good habit are to improve the living environment and contribute to green and sustainable development.

The IWM NAMA sustainable development awareness raising activity with focus on waste management becomes significantly important under this social trend. In the first two weeks of June, the IWM NAMA “Sustainable Development Awareness Raising Education Camp” “landed” in the project demonstration cities of Xi’an and Lanzhou. Within the two half-day courses in selected primary schools in both cities, Ms. Hou Jingyue, project coordinator of IWM NAMA, with her unique fun and vibrant teaching style, shared some impressive insights on integrated waste management with around 50 students in total.

With the aim of encouraging children to proactively think about the environmental issues as well as waste and resource problems the society has been facing, the classes included several interactive tasks and groupwork, through which the students defined waste generation, waste treatment, 3Rs (reduce, reuse, recycle) and waste classification by themselves under the minimum guidance of the teacher. In a format of a role-playing game, assuming roles of governmental institutions, food delivery companies, consumers, educators etc., the students understood the variety of responsibilities and obligations individuals or communities shall carry and fulfill for sustainable development of the waste sector.

We’ve learned things about waste classification from school teachers in the past, but this education camp put it in a funnier and deeper way. Unlike what we have learned before, which was only about putting waste into proper bins, here we have dug into the ‘why’ part”, one of the students participating in the education camp explained to the media. Pupils expressed strong willingness to sort their household waste and share the knowledge with their families back home after the class.

With the activity “Sustainable Development Awareness Raising Education Camp” in primary schools, the IWM NAMA project will select one pilot school in each demonstration city respectively (Xi’an, Lanzhou, Bengbu, Taian, Suzhou) and will bring a playful insight regarding the waste-related matters – from waste generation, collection and 3Rs principle to the waste transfer and treatment – to the primary school students (age 10-11 years). This will foster better understanding of environmental protection, resource management, circular economy and climate change by the students, who will then share the knowledge with their families eventually expanding the influence towards the entire society and inducing the behavioral change in every individual to make us start rethinking how we “manage” our waste.