Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Environmental activists are demanding for direct integration of nature conservation campaigns into the school’s education curriculum to mitigate climate change effects.
Reverend Father James Ssendege, the Board Chairperson for Masaka Recycling Initiative-MRI; a local volunteers association that promotes proper disposal and management of plastic waste says the situation demands that the country undertakes the journey of cultivating a spirit of nature conservation right from schools.
Speaking at the initiative’s 5th anniversary on which they also celebrated a landmark of collecting 547 tons of plastic waste materials from the nine districts of the greater Masaka sub-region, Fr Ssendege observed the need to revise the current teaching materials right from primary schools by introducing environment conservation practices that specially targets the children whose future is largely reliant on nature.
The preferred education curriculum review will according to him help in building an environmentally responsive generation, hence providing a sustainable solution to environmental destruction.
Fr Ssendege also reechoed the demand to the government to stand up and restrict the distribution of polythene and other hazardous plastic materials, as its commitment to support efforts aimed at reversing their negative effects on the environment.
He decries that as voluntary environmental protection crusaders, their efforts are often frustrated by the laxity of government and its relevant agencies that tend to bend towards the economic interests over environmental protection.
Abdul Majid Kigundu, one of the plastic waste collectors in the area is optimistic that one subject if introduced into the school curriculum, will save the volunteers from the public ridicule they are apparently facing as they pick the waste materials.
He explains that the community is yet to fully appreciate the relevance of proper waste disposal, adding that having the children trained as change agents will arouse the general public participation in environmental conservation, beginning with their proper management of the closest environment.
Andrew Bownds, the Chief Executive Officer of Eco-Brixs, a local company dealing in plastics recycling says that they have now taken an innovative path of adding value to the collected waste to create other durable products that are used in daily life.
They are currently melting the plastic materials and casting them into fence-post poles, compound pavers, flowerpots, face shields, jewelry materials, plastic shoes, and doormats among other products, that have eventually become a source of income to hundreds of youth in the area.
Bownds indicates that they have now raised their monthly plastic collection targets to 100 tons from 40 tons after they realized they have only been collecting a small fraction from the bigger load of plastics dumped in the region.
Environmental conservation studies should be integrated in the school curriculum.