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Rainbow Schools challenged to reduce harmful plastic pollution

Rainbow District School Board has challenged staff and students to reduce harmful plastics in lunches, classroom activities and lesson plans.

The Environmental Committee issues monthly challenges to schools throughout the year to broaden the scope of education and sustainable action.

“Plastic pollution is one of the defining environmental challenges of our time,” says Director of Education Bruce Bourget. “To address this, we need to consider the way we produce, use and manage anything made with plastic.”

He adds: “We encourage school communities to continue to raise awareness to minimize the use of plastics both inside and outside of the classroom.”

It is estimated that Canadians dispose of over three million tons of plastic waste each year – with less than 10 per cent getting recycled.

Plastics end up in landfills and take thousands of years to decompose. In the process, they make their way through waterways, lakes, oceans, parks and beaches – damaging both land and aquatic systems.

A custom for Indigenous people, particularly the Anishinaabek, is to harvest foods from natural sources. With plastics polluting the nibi, water, and the aki, earth, animals and fish are consuming them and are dying.

Inadequate access to safe and clean drinking water for First Nations communities in Canada has exacerbated the concerns of Indigenous people.

To build understanding, schools were given resources to emphasize and highlight the global plastic crisis, including information about the Indigenous Maori people of New Zealand using scientific research and traditional knowledge to tackle long-lasting impacts, and recent discussions about a legally-binding global treaty to address the whole lifecycle of plastics.

Throughout the challenge, staff and students may avoid bringing plastic bags, straws, cutlery, plates and beverage containers to school. Schools can also host waste-free events and meetings, as well as friendly competitions among classes.

Last month, students connected with nature for Take Me Outside Day.

What will next month’s challenge be?

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Media Contact:

Nicole Charette, Senior Advisor
Corporate Communications and Strategic Planning
Rainbow District School Board, 705-674-3171 ext. 7217