Educating the next generation on the good, bad and ugly side of plastics

Educating the next generation on the good, bad and ugly side of plastics

On 22 March — World Water Day — 20 schools across NSW and Victoria commenced the Plastic Oceans Australasia (POA) Schools Program, sponsored by Veolia Australia and New Zealand.

Each school will engage in a 12-month learning experience, gaining a better understanding of the impact of plastic pollution on marine and freshwater environments. The students will be empowered to create solutions, whilst learning about recycling and other innovations that exist already.

POA and Veolia are partnering to deliver the program as part of their aligned missions to increase education around recycling, waste management and building a circular economy. Under this partnership, Veolia will fund 20 schools to undertake the full program, which includes surveys, presentations, guest speakers and a practical experience at a Veolia facility.

Ricki Hersburgh, POA Executive Director, was pleased to kick off the program for the first school in NSW with an incursion from a waste expert. “The POA education program uses science to educate students on the impact of plastics on our waterways and oceans, but it also uses fun activities that cater plastic-reduction initiatives to each school — making it student-led to drive behaviour change in their communities.

“The nationally recognised education program was created over seven years and uses science to inform students about the impact of plastic in waterways, oceans and the natural environment,” said Hersburgh.

Richard Kirkman, Veolia’s CEO and Managing Director, also commented on the partnership: “Empowering children to better understand the challenges and benefits of plastic, whilst creating solutions for the future, aligns to Veolia’s ambition of ecological transformation.

“We are looking forward to seeing what comes from this valuable educational program for the 20 schools we are sponsoring.”

POA and Veolia proudly celebrated World Water Day by commencing their education program, which will raise awareness about plastic entering our waterways and oceans and what can be done to challenge this.

Plastic Oceans Australasia and Veolia launched their partnership in 2020 and will work on delivering the Schools educational program, an employee awareness program for Veolia staff, and the translation of an educational movie into a local Yolngu Matha language, Gupapuyngu, to be shared with the community.

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