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Foundation sensitises students to waste recycling, launches club

Plastic wastes continue to grow and pose environmental dangers. A foundation in Portharcourt is educating students on how to recyle plastic wastes. This helps to advance the push for sustainable environment practices.
students of Bloombreed Highschool take a tour of TURN Plastic Recycling plant
Students of Bloombreed Highschool take a tour of TURN Plastic Recycling plant, Port-Harcourt Photo credit: United Nations Institute for Training & Research (UNITAR)
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A not-for-profit organisation, TURN Plastic Foundation, has trained students of Bloombreed High School, Elelenwo, Portharcourt in how to turn waste into wealth through recycling of plastic bottles.

During the event, Ihuoma Njemanze, project manager from United Nations Institute for Training & Research (UNITAR), highlighted the significance of environmental sustainability.

Emphasising the importance of turning waste into value at the seminar, the NGO taught the SS1 students of Bloombreed High School how to transform waste into valuable resources by recycling plastic bottles.

Njemanze said the Foundation in collaboration with its supporters showcased video presentations that shed light on the origins and environmental impact of plastics, aligning with their mission to promote sustainable waste management, segregation, sorting, and recycling from an early age. This, she said, was part of activities set aside by the NGO to mark this year’s World Environment Day.

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According to her, the Foundation during the celebration launched an ‘Environmental Protection Club’ at the school, an initiative designed to stimulate enthusiasm for recycling among students.

Njemanze said that the Foundation would support the club with learning resources, art materials, and excursions.

Recall that the theme for World Environment Day 2023, which is under the campaign #Beat Plastic Pollution, is “Solutions to Plastic Pollution.”

“Commissioned in February last year, TURN Plastic Foundation boasts of a 1000 tonnes capacity plant capable of saving over 750 tonnes of CO2 emissions per year, equivalent to planting about 4,500 trees annually”, she said.

“As part of its environmental awareness campaign, focusing on behavioural change, TURN Plastic Foundation has set up an innovative initiative termed: Train Up a Child (TUC). This is part of the Foundation’s dedication to promoting a circular economy and engaging young individuals in interactive recycling activities demonstrating their commitment to combating plastic pollution and building a greener, more sustainable future. The ultimate goal is to raise environmental awareness among young Nigerians and instil a sense of responsibility for future generations”, Njemanze said.

At the event, the students actively participated in various interactive sessions, including an art and craft activity where they learned creative ways to reuse plastics. They also took part in a quiz session that tested their knowledge of plastics and plastic waste.

“To add to the excitement, the students were treated to an informative visit to the TURN Plastics Recycling Plant in Elelenwo”, she added.

Following the success of the inaugural event, Njemanze expressed the Foundation’s commitment to reaching out to more than 23 schools in Port Harcourt and establishing recycling hubs to sustain the positive momentum.

Furthermore, the Foundation intends to empower young individuals by offering them opportunities to earn income through cash rewards for depositing their plastic waste in designated recycling bins. Through these efforts, TURN Plastic Foundation aims to educate both young people and consumers about the importance of plastics recycling, while encouraging the purchase of products made with post-consumer recycled resins (PCR).

In her closing remarks, Njemanze extended her appreciation to the collaborators and partners, Leo Nwofa and Uloma Airhienbuwa, for their invaluable contributions to the success of the event.

“TURN Plastic Foundation firmly believes that individuals play a crucial role in achieving sustainability and encourages the public to actively participate in environmental preservation. The foundation welcomes partnerships and collaborations from the bodies and members of the public,” she said.

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