Styrofoam-free St Anne's - West Kingston-based school pilots JSIF programme
Lunchtime at the St Anne's Primary in west Kingston is much like at any primary school in Jamaica.
At 11:30 a.m. the school bell rings like an alarm and students rush to the canteen for their meals, hoping to eat it quickly to get in adequate amounts of playtime.
There is, however, something different happening at St Anne's. Under a Jamaica Social Investment Fund (JSIF) supported environmental programme, the school has eliminated the use of styrofoam containers for the lunchtime routine.
The principal, Paulette Battick Smith, said the school has always actively recycled and has a system of separation and collection already in place, so when the idea of using paper instead of styrofoam containers was mooted by JSIF, it was quickly taken on by the administration.
PAPER CONTAINERS INSTEAD
Under the project, no styrofoam is used in the serving of food in the canteen. Instead, paper boxes and cups replace these as the students, teachers and other staff members are made aware of the harm this does to the environment.
According to Battick Smith, the programme has so far been a success, and with the input of JSIF in funding the new containers, the school has made strides in eliminating the non-biodegradable foam boxes.
She added that the school is near to a gully and in previous years, students would throw these environmentally harmful containers into the gully, which would be a recipe for flooding.
Battick Smith said the school is constantly looking at new ways to take on environmentally sustainable activities and teach the children the same.
JSIF's general manager for technical services, Loy Malcolm, said the programme, which has started with St Anne's as the pilot, is part of an expansion of a comprehensive US$4-million solid waste management programme.
This is being implemented under the Government of Jamaica's World Bank-funded Integrated Community Development Project.
"It is focused on improving how waste is managed across 30 communities; and specifically on improving waste separation, recycling, reuse, collection, and waste reduction.
"The ultimate success of the programme will be heavily dependent on changing behaviour and attitudes. It is, therefore, imperative that we target the message and participation to the very young and through the schools to a significant degree," said Malcolm.
She added that this pilot project at St Anne's is the first step in educating school-aged children and encouraging schools to embrace environmentally sustainable practices.