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Indonesia: Escuelas sin desechos plásticos para las Islas Banda

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What is at issue:

With an estimated 0.5-1.3 million tonnes of plastic entering the ocean every year, Indonesia is the world's second largest producer of marine waste. As an island state, Indonesia faces enormous logistical challenges in the collection, treatment and disposal of waste. Successful waste management strategies come from the communities themselves, especially if they are located on small and remote islands.

This is the case on the Banda Islands, a small group of islands in the middle of the Banda Sea. In 2012, a municipal waste management system was set up there, which since then has included more and more villages. Supported by the German foundation BandaSEA e.V., it has since been run by Magafira Ali, the Bandanesian and former English teacher and chairman of the Luminocean Foundation.

BandaSEA and Luminocean work together on environmental and health issues and inform about the consequences of pollution and the possibilities of reducing and recycling plastic waste on the Banda Islands.

Magafira believes that only a change in lifestyle can permanently reduce the amount of plastic waste in the seas. The students of the Banda Islands are therefore at the centre of this project, because through school every single child of Banda can be reached, i.e. a complete generation of future decision-makers. The children's knowledge will also lead to behavioural changes in their families and hopefully set an example for other communities in Indonesia.

The objectives of the project are:

  • 42 schools with 4,200 children use only returnable cups and dishes.
  • The children learn how to reduce waste.
  • The children develop their own creative recycling ideas.
  • The children gain practical experience in separating different types of waste.
  • The children carry what they have learned into their families.
  • The schools of the Banda Islands become a role model for other schools in the Moluccas.

What's happening now:

The financing of the project is not yet secured, crowdfunding should help here. Donations and subsidies will be used for this promising project, which will be self-sustaining in the long run.

A suitable teaching programme was successfully introduced at one of the schools in 2018 and is now to be delivered to all 42 schools on the Banda Islands with a total of 4,200 pupils.

At an introductory event in Banda Naira, school principals and teachers will be informed and given all the information they need to turn their schools into plastic-waste-free schools.

"First, we will guide the teachers of each school to teach the children why pollution is unhealthy for the environment and for themselves, how to reduce pollution, separate organic and inorganic waste, recycle certain types of plastics and how they and their families can live healthier with less plastic," says Magafira Ali. The topics are taught according to a teaching programme developed by Indonesian educators, which is made available to teachers in printed form.

Selected teachers receive a one-week special training course and take on the role of "green" mentor at their respective schools. There they will implement the teaching programme across all classes and will also receive support from Magafira and his assistants.

An important step is to minimize the use of disposable plastic articles in schools. To this end, the school canteens will be equipped with plates and cups for all children and dishwashing facilities will be set up for the new reusable crockery. As an incentive to participate, each child is given their own bottle to refill and the usual disposable drinking cups are banned from schools. The mentors accompany this transition at their schools.

The pupils are taught according to the teaching programme. The curriculum comprises theoretical and practical aspects and focuses on developing the topic as independently as possible, developing and trying out new ideas. The pupils learn to transform packaging waste into valuable objects, are involved in cleaning the school facilities and learn to reduce plastic waste in their families. Depending on the age group, different approaches and lesson plans from the syllabus are used.

After the first school year, representatives of the Ministry of Environment and Life as well as head teachers and teachers from five other Moluccan municipalities visit the school in Banda. During their five-day stay, the plastic-free school will be presented and the extension of the programme to other islands will be discussed.

The total cost of the project is 33,150 € for:

  • Introductory event at all schools (3 teachers per school): 1.050 €.
  • Training of "green mentors" € 2,350
  • Mugs, plates, bottles and water dispensers: 9.550 Euro
  • Printing of the teaching program for all schools: 300 €.
  • Teacher grants for one year: 16.800 €.
  • Invitation of other teachers from other communities to the end of the year: €3,100.

We count on your support!

What we have achieved:

The teaching program will set an example. The Indonesian government already has an interest in continuing and expanding the project to other schools and thus incorporating the programme into the curricula of Indonesian schools.

More information:

Who has done it: