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Jamshedpur school wins plastic war

Students now bring food in steel tiffin boxes

By Antara Bose in Jamshedpur

  • Published 22.10.19, 12:17 AM
  • Updated 22.10.19, 12:17 AM
Students of Jusco School South Park in Jamshedpur with their steel tiffin boxes on Monday.
Students of Jusco School South Park in Jamshedpur with their steel tiffin boxes on Monday. Picture by Bhola Prasad

A steel city school’s efforts to curb the use of plastic on campus have borne fruit.

All the 2,264 students from nursery to Class V of Jusco School South Park have stopped carrying plastic tiffin boxes eight months after the “say no to plastic” campaign was launched by the institute.

Realising the harmful effects on plastic, especially on food, the students have started using steel tiffin boxes.

“We felt the use of plastic tiffin boxes was a major challenge for the environment and the health of students. Therefore, we had launched the “say no to plastic” in January with multiple objectives. With constant efforts from teachers and students, we have been able to achieve this target in eight months. Now every child brings steel tiffin boxes,” principal of Jusco School Mili Sinha said.

In November last year, the school had conducted a survey where it was realised that 81.9 per cent students from nursery to Class XII used plastic tiffin boxes.

In fact, 71 per cent teachers also used to bring food in plastic containers.

Realising that getting more than 2,000 students to shun plastic tiffin boxes would be a humongous task, the school tried to divide students into groups and work on them.

The teachers in the team — Deepmala, V. Madhavi, K. Durgalakshmi, Moushumi Patra and Rashmi Agarwal — started with pre-primary and primary sections comprising 1,200 students.

Simple innovations like a no-plastic drill on sports day, oath-taking by guests, children and parents reduced the use of plastic tiffin boxes by 14 per cent in January and 19.8 per cent by February this year.

With more events such as public speaking, poetry reading, songs and video presentation, the percentage further came down to 50.8 per cent in July and the first class to go completely plastic tiffin box-free was section B of Class III.

“There was still a long way to go. So, we invited parents for a meeting where we spoke about the hazards of using plastic tiffin boxes. In August, we saw 96 per cent students using steel tiffin boxes in the primary section. We engaged students to check and monitor various classes twice a week. By the end of August, the school received 100 per cent results,” Sinha said.

The school has now expanded the model to classes VI-VIII besides prohibiting plastic carry bags on campus. About 70 per cent primary students now bring steel water bottles.