GUWAHATI: Nearly a year after the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) issued a circular asking its affiliated institutions to completely shun plastic items at their campus, not a single school in Assam has so far fully acted on the circular.
Even though some leading schools in Guwahati have prohibited the use of plastic bags on campus, but bottles and lunch boxes made of plastic are still allowed. Some schools have banned the reuse of soft drink bottles, but continue to allow students to bring water in bottles made of “food-grade plastic”.
“Banning bottles, wrappers, packaging, bags, cups, plates, tumblers made of plastic or polystyrene on school premises and in school canteen, and encouraging use of alternative biodegradable products will help sensitize students about the ills of using plastic,” the CBSE circular issued in 2018 to all its affiliated schools in the country said.
The CBSE circular has listed ways in which students could be sensitized about environmental conservation. It suggests conducting activities such as a school waste audit, devising ways to reduce waste generated in school, organizing neighbourhood outreach activities where students can educate people about hazards of plastic waste and organizing competitions on innovative ideas to make the school free of plastic.
“But the majority of the schools have skipped the ways through which students could be sensitized on environmental and health hazards posed by plastic products. Most of the schools have simply asked students to bring less number of plastic items,” a source in CBSE office in the city said.
Most of the schools have argued that the circular sounds good but difficult to implement. “Unless there is an overall awareness in the society to avoid the use of a non-biodegradable product such as plastic,” a teacher at a CBSE affiliated school here said.
The Vice Principal at a leading private English medium school in the city said they do not allow children to reuse soft drink bottles for carrying water. “But, we cannot ask students not to bring any kind of plastic bottle because that would mean they would have to bring glass bottles, which is risky,” she said.
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