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Written by Nurin Fatini, edited by Shahirah Anuar
“World Rivers Day” is an annual event held to raise awareness about the importance of protecting rivers from widespread plastic waste pollution. EcoKnights believe that by providing our children with effective and communicative education, we can help them understand and appreciate the value of nature. Hence, River Explorer Day was held in collaboration with Alibaba Group Malaysia to promote sustainability among the younger audience on becoming more responsible consumers and doing their part to protect our environment.
This explorative program was conducted on the 10th of September, 2022, at Sungai Bunus in Desa Andaman, Wangsa Maju, with the support of Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL) and Local Agenda 21 Kuala Lumpur (LA21KL). To summarise, young volunteers from both the international and public schools took part in numerous fun activities such as clean-up activity, BioD observation, mudball, Precious Plastic demonstration, and self-watering plant DIY workshops. The program began with a clean-up activity along the walkaway path, which was led by 49 enthusiastic participants who collected 66.5kg of trash in just 20 minutes!
This program aims not only to educate students about river pollution but also to foster an appreciation for the beauty of the environment and the importance of biodiversity balance in river restoration among students. That was the goal of the biodiversity observation, in which the students were able to identify a variety of living organisms throughout the park. The day continued with a few more interactive sessions that required creative and motor skills while educating on smart water consumers and river water quality restoration, whereupon the students created approximately 230 mudballs and upcycled 49 empty plastic bottles brought from home into self-watering plant pots.
While being assisted by EcoKnights team members, the students practised mudballs (on the left) and self-watering DIY (on the right).
To round out the day of meaningful activities, the students had the opportunity to learn something new and surreal about plastic, which is the plastic upcycling process. The Fuze Ecoteer team demonstrated the process of upcycling plastic through shredding, melting, and pressing techniques. Through this session, students may begin to adopt mindfulness practises such as reuse and recycling, which have a significant impact on lowering the carbon footprint, as well as raising awareness about the importance of protecting water bodies and their surroundings.
Another activity, an online engagement talk was held on the 14th of September, as part of Alibaba Group Malaysia’s ESG initiatives, to equip the young audience with plastic knowledge, shared by amazing speakers, Dr. Yasmin Rasyid (President of EcoKnights), Yoong Yi from Precious Plastic Malaysia, and Affan Nasaruddin from UM Water Warriors. The key takeaways from this talk focused on the reality of our current global plastic footprint, particularly in Malaysia, as well as useful information and tips on how to be a good consumer — with a simple and practical lifestyle — through the sharing of sustainable consumerist practises.
Educating our youth is one way to start a movement to reduce plastic waste in landfills and transition to a low-carbon circular economy model. These programs have the potential to influence positive behaviour and attitudes among our youth, particularly regarding sustainable practises in plastic waste management. We hope that the participants gained a better understanding and valuable perspective on their role in sustainable consumerism, as well as a sense of empowerment in making smart climate choices and reducing their plastic footprint — beginning with small steps. Change begins with you! If you want to start influencing change in our ecosystem, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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