A trashy day at school

This past Saturday I started the day off with an assembly on plastic. I had done one for the senior school earlier in the week. This one was for the junior school. I started with a short video, which was supposed to be lovely little animated film on  “The Life Cycle of a Plastic Bottle”.

However, this video doesn’t seem to play on my pen drive, so I showed an alternate one about a Japanese Zero Waste  village that I find quite inspiring:

I spoke about some of the problems of plastic–especially our overuse of it–and Zero Waste July and I’m hoping we can find ways to get more kids involved.

Right after the assembly was my 4th standard Garbology 101 class. This second class focused on the the waste they produce. Early in the morning, before school began, I went to each of the junior hostels and asked each child to find a piece of trash–ideally one from their own waste–and bring it to class. The moment I walked in, however, the 5th standard students accosted me–before they even knew what I might talk about!–and complained that the 4thies are not segregating their garbage properly. One boy was bemoaning the fact that an apple core was found in the paper bin (clearly a boy after my heart!).

In class, that apple core showed up, wrapped in tissues, and there were lots of other interesting items, most of which were paper or plastic. A couple of children brought the wrappers from their new yoga mats (I’m also their yoga teacher). I asked them about these objects, their stories, and finally, where their story will end. But I got a lot more than I bargained for, especially from one child who saw the problem in selling a yoga mat in paper and plastic wrapping. She said, “why don’t they just sell it in a cloth bag? That way, the person can have a way to carry it around and also they can wash it when it gets dirty!” Sounds good to me!




After lunch, my husband, Murli, and I took a walk around the valley. But of late that usually means I carry a cement sack and fill it up with waste as I walk around. This time it got so heavy because there were so many clothing items embedded in the mud roads that I discovered on this particular path. Upon seeing my inability to let any piece of trash go without picking it up, Murli decided that I was first bitten by the waste bug after seeing the Iranian film Narenji Poush with him a few years ago at the Bengaluru International Film Festival. It’s quite possible. I wish I could get a copy of it to show the students. It’s a tremendous film, full of levity and inspiration. Watch the trailer below!


2 thoughts on “A trashy day at school

  1. I do think the first video has some good visuals about what happens to plastic if you just toss it, but the main message could also be a bit more “big picture” by going into avoiding bottled water to begin with.

    I love your passion with this important global topic, and that you get to teach it to various people in various ways.


    1. Thanks so much for continuing to read and comment, Nadine. And, yes, the video isn’t so great. I’m actually glad that I showed the second one–it give us something to strive towards!


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