In September 2017, S.E.A. Aquarium commenced on a year-long nationwide BYO (Bring Your Own) Schools Programme in partnership with Zerowaste SG.
In the subsequent months, we educated and engaged students on plastic pollution and marine conservation through assembly talks and exhibitions. At the same time, we encouraged students to bring their own reusables (bottle, container, utensils or bag) and reduce plastic disposables in their school via a reward card system.
To date, 24 schools have embarked on this programme, such as Bukit Panjang Primary School, Nan Hua Primary School and Anderson Secondary School. Among them, 12 schools have completed the programme.
As of 30 June 2018, 2,877 students have been awarded a certificate of achievement for completing at least one BYO card. In the process, 31,025 pieces of plastic disposables have been saved. All these have surpassed our initial goal of 2,000 students and 20,000 plastic disposables.
Feedback from participating schools has been very positive. Many students have continued to BYO and reduce plastic used in the canteen after the programme ended.
Hailin from Zero Waste SG also realised something interesting based on her interaction with educators and students. Many students view Recycle as the most important component of the 3Rs, when in fact, Reduce and Refuse are of greater importance.
It is more important that we Reduce and Refuse, so as to truly minimise the amount of waste generated. Only then can we save resources and avert waste from the landfill.
While it is heartening to see students realise the importance of reducing plastic usage through BYO, we will continue to instill the importance of Reduce and Refuse so as to achieve our goal of Healthy Ocean Healthy Us.