by Ng Sok Hui
To achieve more equitable funding for all schools, the Ministry of Education has recently encouraged schools to moderate fund-raising activities and consider more thoroughly the spending of funds on additional facilities. According to MOE, one of the more heavily emphasized ways to do so is to use air conditioning sparingly. This not only helps schools cut spending – it also benefits MOE’s other goal of achieving environmentally sustainable schools.
Our school has also recently appealed to us to be more environmentally friendly by using air conditioners only after 9.30am and reminding us to switch them off when not in use. Besides air-conditioners, here are some other ways for us, students and teachers, to be eco-friendly in school.
Use air conditioning sensibly.
This is obviously the main cause behind our astronomical electricity bills. Of course, it’s justifiable to use air conditioning in facilities like the auditorium, computer labs or library, because there isn’t any other form of ventilation otherwise. But we should bear in mind that having air conditioning in the classroom is a luxury, not a necessity. If we survived four years in Junior High without air conditioned classrooms, surely we could survive two more. It’s perfectly fine to use it from time to time given the warm weather, but we ought to moderate its use on cooler days instead of freezing in our jackets! We are privileged to even have air-conditioned classrooms, so let’s aim to be more responsible in our usage.
Turn of ALL electrical appliances when not in use.
It may sound trivial but in truth, this is a common problem observed in our school. Sometimes we are in such a rush to get to classes that we just forget, and there isn’t someone to constantly remind us to turn off the fans, lights and air conditioning. Why not appoint someone to do a quick check before leaving the classroom?
Make (proper) use of the recycling bins around school.
There are plenty of recycling bins around school, most notably at the canteen or library, so let’s start making good use of them. They’re separated into paper, plastic and metal, so be sure to place your items in the correct bin. All bottles or cans should be rinsed clean before being recycled, or they may attract…“visitors”. A few examples of things we can recycle are: used (and clean) plastic bottles, metal cans, paper (not your homework), empty correction tapes and pens, the list goes on!
Print on both sides of the paper
Paper is also a costly item in school. Printing on both sides of the paper may seem insignificant, but when it comes to mass printing, the numbers really add up. If possible, print more pages on each side of the paper and minimise empty spaces. For us students, when paper is provided during tests/exams, we should also aim to utilise it wisely. One way could be writing your name only after the test/exam so teachers would not have to discard unnecessary amounts of paper with just names on them.
Gandhi once said, “Earth provides enough to satisfy every man’s needs, but not every man’s greed.” When it comes to the environment, every small effort counts, so let’s all work towards a greener Dunman High!