The rapidly growing economy and the shifts in public consumption has led to an astronomical surge in the production of plastic waste all around the world. As we all know, excess plastic waste can have extremely adverse effects on the environment, our health as well the ecosystem and the natural balance of our planet. An often-undermined tool to tackle such a problem in an extensive way can be through through education and the various tools pertaining to it
Education can initiate a change in the mindset, perspective, knowledge and attitude of people towards plastic waste management. From engaging in volunteer activities, spreading awareness to actually teaching about effective plastic waste management, education can go a long way in instilling a positive idea in the minds of the general consensus. Schools should involve the young students in the whole process of new concepts and trend-setting requirements of the society. The idea is to go about doing this through teachers. First the teachers and educators must made aware of the challenges of the future, and then the knowledge can passed onto the students simply and easily. At a young susceptive age, if we tap into the ever-widening curiosity of a child’s mind and help nurture love for the environment through both formal and informal educational tools, the need and understanding for effective waste management stays with them throughout their life.
To tackle the serious plastic waste issue, education in plastic waste management is becoming increasingly prevalent all around the globe , and in general there are four main different approaches to it , namely :-
1)Community-based Education, (through mass publication, broadcasting, group activities) .
2)Government-based education ,(through government programs and legislation) .
3)Business-based education ,(through plastic recycling schemes, along with the assistance of waste management and recycling companies) .
4)School-based education ,(through standardized guidebooks and school campaigns).
Japan, Taiwan, the UK, and Hong Kong are, respectively, the representatives of these four approaches.
In India too, Mass education and awareness generation programs on plastic waste management were conducted in four selected schools on the basis of their approachability and interest in the city of Mumbai ,using audio-visual aides to delineate knowledge to students about plastic waste management and conservation of the environment. Subsequently ,knowledge assessment of respondents on plastic and plastic waste management was performed and improvement in knowledge level was seen after the training program was undertaken.
Time and time again , we observe that the education sector can play a crucial role in creating awareness, inculcating values, changing perceptions and nurturing the next generation towards adopting a dynamic lifestyle that fosters sustainable development. It imbibes in youth the need to care, conserve and protect the environment and to proactively support and promote government decisions taken to protect it. Education opens the mind to endless possibilities and inspires people to use their knowledge towards building a healthy environment and join the green crusade and thus help in conservation and resolving environmental issues not only in India but all over the world.