There is so much coverage worldwide around the global issue of pollution and reducing waste wherever possible; each country is at both a different level of awareness and on how they are dealing with the problem.
In Hua Hin, there is a government run school that is leading the way in educating students to reduce waste to lessen their footprint on the environment. The Bor Faai Municipal School launched a waste management program back in 2004 headed up by Miss Kanokwan Khaikaew, School Director.
The school is now known as the Zero Waste School and is located on Soi Hua Hin 6. Though Miss Kanokwan, a Hua Hin native, has been at the school for 15 years and is very proud to have initiated the program now consisting of 13 environmental & waste reduction initiatives, it is the teachers and students, ranging from 3 years through to 15 years old, who are making this school stand out from the crowd.
Clearly, educating the youth of today will impact our world in the future, so the initiatives need to resonate with the students so as to become habit – a way of life. The canteen is a perfect example of reducing waste, where the students will only take enough food that they know they will finish. They cannot leave food on their plates, nor throw out what they don’t like or want. Some children may take home to their families what they can’t eat but nothing is thrown away.
This year the school has been serving the children milk in a glass rather than a plastic bottle; it’s these types of small changes which make a big difference. Reusing items is a major focus of the school, whether that is reusing plastic items like bags and bottles. They are also extremely active in collecting aluminum cans and the ring pull tabs, along with aluminium foil, all of which are collected and go towards the making of prosthetic limbs.
This trash exchange program is extremely popular with the students, where they receive coupons to buy pencils and books for school in exchange for trash collected. One of the school’s other initiatives is the disposal of batteries from phones and small appliances the correct way.
The school works alongside the Municipality to make sure they are disposed of correctly, so the chemicals do not leech out into the environment. The school has special days where the Municipality sends trash collectors to the school. Students can bring in their recyclable trash items to be exchanged for a small amount of cash deposited directly into their own school bank account.
Students love being rewarded this way and are therefore inspired to do more when they see their account steadily growing. In addition, there is a clothes exchange program where students can bring in items that their family would normally throw away; the school buys each item for 5 THB and these items are either given to families who are in need, or students may buy something for their mother or father. Within the school grounds, a small garden has been started where they are growing vegetables; they are composting and growing earth worms, which in turn keeps the earth healthy.
The students then take the vegetable plants home in pots to nurture and grow. This school is a government run school and whilst they receive some funding from the Hua Hin Municipality, it is not a wealthy school but one that is rich in so many other ways. This school is taking the lead in educating children on this level.
The teachers and students go out into the community at events like the Hua Hin Food Festival or local music concerts, as this is a great way to inspire people to recycle and think about their trash and the environmental impact if it is not disposed of correctly.
By Hua Hin Today