Plastic pollution has been a worldwide issue for decades. Fortunately, more and more people are doing their part to cut down on waste and help clean our planet.
One school in Dispur, India has been making headlines with its innovative take on going green. In fact, its students never have to worry about paying tuition so long as they take part in this simple yet powerful initiative.
When Parmita Sarma and Mazin Mukhtar founded Akshar Foundation School, they witnessed toxic fumes filling their classrooms.
People were burning piles of trash and plastic to keep warm during the winter, unknowingly creating a health hazard in a town that produces 37,000 tons of garbage each day.
That’s where Parmita and Mazin’s innovative idea came in. They wanted to teach their students practical skills and give them the tools they need to live sustainably, so they changed the price of admission — not to a certain amount of money but to a certain amount of plastic.
Now every week, children aged 4-15 line up outside their school carrying bags with at least 20-25 pieces of plastic inside. And if parents want their children to attend the otherwise free school, they have to promise never to burn plastic again.
Another amazing fact about this school is it keeps children enrolled. While this may not sound like a huge accomplishment, many parents in the Dispur community send their children to work in nearby stone quarries to bring in an equivalent of $2.50 per day. But with Akshar as an option, more and more kids are continuing their education.
Older students can even attend classes and earn money to help their families. They pack plastic bottles with other plastic waste, creating ecobricks. These can be used to build planters, walking paths, and even new classrooms.
Akshar students are also able to learn about solar power, gain carpentry skills, and raise waste awareness in their community.
Parmita and Mazin’s efforts are just getting started. They have a goal of building 100 similar schools in the next five years. In the meantime, their first group of students will keep making an impact, one bag of plastic at a time.
Learn more about this school’s innovative approach in the video below, and share to help spread the idea!
This Indian school lets students pay their tuition in plastic waste – recycling their way to an education.♻️
Posted by Al Jazeera English on Sunday, June 23, 2019
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