This is in response to Nalini Varma’s letter, ‘Go plastic free’, (GDN, August 23).
I fully agree with her on the importance of teaching our children, our future, about the consequences of plastic use.
I strongly endorse the idea that the values we teach our children during their younger, more impressionable days will be values they hold onto for their entire lifetime.
This was reiterated to me through my recent experience as the co-ordinator of the PGF Summer Camp.
The theme was “Say No To Plastic Waste” and we feel proud we could stay 100 per cent true to the theme.
Through the course of 40 days, the only plastic usage was straws that accompanied juice packets.
To reduce plastic use we drank water served from a dispenser into reusable glasses.
Also, sandwiches served as snacks were prepared at home, packaged in reusable containers wrapped in wet cloths and handed to children without plates.
Bulk packaging rendered the need for individual cling foil wraps and throwaway covers unnecessary.
Even when two days were designated as ice-cream fun days, the ice-cream was purchased in bulk and served in wafer cones so that no plastic waste was created.
A “no junk food” policy was also enforced, so the children were fed a range of healthier snack options, including sandwiches of different kinds, thepla (an Indian flatbread) and homemade vegetable pizzas, etcetera.
Unhealthy items like chips and soft drinks were discouraged, even outside the camp.
At the end of 40 days, the children not only exercised the ideals taught to them, but also endorsed them on a broader level.
As a team, we feel proud that we were able to instil these values in children.
In light of recent events, we feel teaching environmental conservation in schools should be mandatory so that our children grow as conscientious individuals who care for the environment.
In conclusion, I would like to leave you with these two suggestions for high-impact change.
First, schools should ban the use of throwaway plastic bottles on campus.
Second, retail store employees should be trained to reduce the number of plastic bags to a bare minimum.