School students in Maalhos, Baa Atoll, competed in a 'Zero Waste Challenge' that took place from May 19 to June 15.
The challenge, which is part of the 'Namoona Baa' initiative launched by the island council presidents of Maalhos, Dharavandhoo and Kihaadhoo in partnership with Soneva Fushi, pitted different grades at the local school against each other where the grade that collects and segregates the most garbage wins the challenge. All the segregated waste will be sent for recycling.
Students, teachers and parents collected recyclable waste such as plastics and tin cans over time. The waste was then counted on assigned days, and total points were awarded to grades based on the total weight.
Cans and bottles were cleaned and free of residual food or drink, so that the items could be stored until collection without giving off bad odour or attracting insects. Students did not receive any points if their waste was not thoroughly cleaned.
"Our students have learnt the importance of reducing, reusing and recycling waste in order to maintain a clean and healthy environment. This first-hand experience of zero waste will shape students' lives to be brighter and healthier in future", said Maalhos School's Principal Abbas Hussain.
Following the challenge, the grades that collected and delivered the most recyclables win a trip to snorkel with Manta Rays at Hanifaru Bay and a lesson in astronomy at the Soneva Fushi observatory. The resort also offers a trip to The Den, the children's play park at Soneva Fushi, for children of lower grades.
The 'Namoona Baa' initiative was launched in February in response to the waste and plastic pollution crisis currently rampant across the Maldives.
Under this initiative, the island communities of Maalhos, Dharavandhoo and Kihaadhoo also came together in a pre-Ramadan clean-up in Kihaadhoo on May 7.