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Schools across Maldives celebrate World Oceans Day single-use plastic free

Fathmath Shaahunaz
08 June 2018, MVT 17:16
During the #ZeroPlasticIftar held at Keyodhoo School in V. Keyodhoo to celebrate World Oceans Day. PHOTO/KEYODHOO SCHOOL
Fathmath Shaahunaz
08 June 2018, MVT 17:16

This week, schools across the Maldives abandoned single-use plastics as they hosted special environmental friendly Ramadan breakfasts to join CNN's ongoing international campaign for World Oceans Day, which is celebrated on June 8.

The US-based news channel asked students across the world to join their #ZeroPlasticLunch campaign, by stripping single-use plastics from school meals and replacing them with environmental friendly alternatives.

The Maldives rose to the challenge, with the Ministry of Education teaming up with the government's "Faru Koe" program, to invite all 212 schools across the archipelago to take part in the campaign.

"Since it is Ramadan (the Islamic holy month of fasting), #ZeroPlasticLunch was out of the question," an official from the education ministry told The Edition.

During the #ZeroPlasticIftar held at Sheikh Ibrahim School in HA.Kelaa to celebrate World Oceans Day. PHOTO/SHEIKH IBRAHIM SCHOOL

"So as alternatives, we invited the schools to hold a #ZeroPlasticIftar or #ZeroPlasticTharaavees," she said, referring respectively to the Ramadan breakfast and the evening meal usually taken later.

According to the official, 193 schools across the Maldives have participated in the campaign so far. The schools tweeted pictures of their Iftar or tharaavees meals with the hashtag #ZeroPlasticIftar, showing off the creative substitutes such as banana leaves and woven baskets they used instead of plastic plates.

Noting that the education ministry and Faru Koe had only instructed to eliminate single-use plastics from the meals, the official stated that the schools had the creative freedom to "go above and beyond" to keep it plastic-free.

"Some of the schools used biodegradable alternatives for plates, and some incorporated their islands' cultural aspects into the event."

During the #ZeroPlasticIftar held at Sheikh Ibrahim School in HA.Kelaa to celebrate World Oceans Day. PHOTO/SHEIKH IBRAHIM SCHOOL

The official added that the campaign had also brought communities together, highlighting that some of the schools had arranged for all the students and teachers to perform the Maghrib prayer together on campus during the event.

The government of the Maldives has recently upped efforts to raise awareness amongst students about the dangers of plastic pollution. The Ministry of Education commenced an ongoing movement earlier this year to ban single-use plastics from all the schools across the island nation.

Similarly the Faru Koe program, launched under the education ministry, is also pushing schools to eliminate plastics. Meaning "Child of the Reef", Faru Koe aims to take all 81,000 students in the Maldives to a reef this year, in order to make children aware of the fragile nature of the Maldives’ reef ecosystems, and invoke their love for the environment and its conservation. To date, Faru Koe has taken over 30 percent of the Maldives' total student population on snorkelling excursions.