In June 2017, Guardians of the S.E.A.A. (GOTS), the conservation group of 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.
More than 3,044 students have been awarded a certificate of achievement for completing at least one BYO card. In the process, over 32,600 pieces of plastic disposables have been saved. We are encouraged to see all these children being so passionate about marine conservation. So much so that we 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 bring their own reusable items and reduce plastic used in the canteen after the programme ended.
We hope to encourage the Reduce and Refuse mindset, rather than view Recycling as the most important component of the 3Rs. This will help us truly minimise the amount of waste generated, and 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 to achieve our goal of Healthy Ocean Healthy Us.