James Ogilvie – England
September 16 was Internastional Ozone Day and to mark the occasion we accompanied a group of children from SD Al Muslim Wadungasri on an activity to raise awareness on global environment issues, Saturday (24/10). We were joined by my girlfriend, Toni, who was visiting me in Surabaya for the weekend. Along with a few other members of Tunas Hijau, we took the children from SD Al Muslim to a nearby supermarket, where they went around the shelves looking for products containing CFCs.
Although CFCs have been banned in the UK and many other countries, such as America, Canada and Italy, since the late 1970s, they are still permitted in Indonesia. This is despite the significant damage that they cause to the ozone layer; a fact widely accepted by the scientific community. The children found several items in the supermarket containing CFCs including aerosols and foam packaging. They then showed these items to the supermarket manager and explained the damage they cause, in the hope that he might have these products removed and replace them with ones that do not contain CFCs.
The children were very enthusiastic about the trip and, while not buying sweets and chocolate, spent a lot of time and effort looking for items with CFCs. Hopefully the activity helped teach them more about the use of CFCs in everyday items and the dangers that they present, and maybe they will stop buying such products themselves. After leaving the supermarket we returned to the school to discuss the activity with the children.
Today, Monday (26/10) we took a group of children from SD Theresia 2 on a school trip to Surabaya’s compost and landfill sites. We have run several workshops with the children here regarding rubbish management, composting and recycling, so this activity was aimed to enhance what we have taught them at school. The first place we visited was the city’s compost site, where the children saw how compost is made on much a larger scale than they do in their school in smaller scale!
The children were shown around the site to see where they bring in the leaves and organic waste and how they leave it to make compost. They were then shown the machinery they use to sieve the compost to remove the fine sediment to be used for gardening. Some of the children, as well as me, helped shovel compost into the big machine to remove the large pieces and leave the perfect fine compost. They children seemed to be really interested by the process and enjoyed looking around the site.
We then drove over to Surabaya’s landfill site, which was a far less enjoyable experience in comparison. The aim of taking the children here is to show them where their rubbish goes and how horrible it is, and to hopefully encourage them to take more care with managing their rubbish, both in their school and their homes. The landfill site, as when I visited before, was hot, disgusting and smelly, but I was shocked by the amount of people who were working there today.
Last time I visited there were quite a few people, but today there were many more people climbing around in the rubbish in the immense heat; I honestly could not think of a worse job to do every day! The smell was also unbearable, and all the children were given masks to help reduce the smell. The children were equally as shocked and disgusted as I was, especially as this was their first time visiting the landfill. I am positive that the experience of the landfill site will change the children’s perception of rubbish and how it is managed, and hopefully make them change their behaviour in an effort to reduce the rubbish they throw away.