Lin Hao Xiang
Launched in January 2020, the ‘Go Green Together’ campaign is built on the idea of cutting down on the school’s carbon footprint. Thus, contributing positively to the environment. Under this campaign, many programmes have been run. Our most impactful to date would be the ‘No Single Use Plastics’ campaign which was launched last year. It was directed towards reducing the usage of single use plastics such as disposable cutlery and straws by designating every Saturday as No plastic spoons, straws and forks (No plastic SSF) day. This year the campaign has gained further momentum with the ‘No plastic SSF’ day being extended to Thursdays too.
On such days, canteen vendors do not hand out plastic cutlery and students are encouraged to bring their own reusable cutlery. Due to the overwhelming support and cooperation from both students and parents, this programme has reduced the usage of plastic cutlery by roughly 20 per cent. To illustrate the magnitude of its effects, out of the 1,500 students in St Andrew’s School, at least 1,200 buy food from the canteen daily using 1,200 sets of disposable cutlery accumulating to a frightening 6,000 sets per week. By completely abolishing the distribution of disposable cutlery on weekends, the school has reduced its plastic usage by 1,200 sets weekly, discounting straws.
In addition, some classes have taken the initiative to make the campus greener. With the corridors of the school lined with potted plants, the campus is slowly coming alive in a burst of vibrant colours of seasonal flowers and aesthetically pleasing green foliage of indoor plants. Most importantly, the plants raise the oxygen level of the school’s atmosphere. This is significant as higher oxygen levels have been proven to bolster the productivity, health and general happiness of the people, thus, producing an improved and conducive studying environment.
Another initiative taken by the principal along with the school management is to replace the fluorescent lights with LED lights in the school’s common areas like the corridors, administration block and the drop-off/ pick up zone of the Prince Azim Car Park. This will definitely reduce the usage of electricity as well as the high electricity bills.
I firmly believe that most, if not all schools in Brunei can and should follow our example and discover more and more ways like these to reduce their carbon footprint. After all, we do this in anticipation and hope for a greener, healthier and safer future, not just for the benefit of ourselves but the whole world. As for St Andrew’s School, we will not be content to let our efforts stagnate here. We will continue to innovate new strategies and lead the others as an example. For example, we plan to extend ‘no plastic SSF day’ to all days of the week, banishing disposable cutlery entirely. We also plan to harvest and use rainwater to cope with the droves of students washing their cutlery daily in the future.