PETALING JAYA, 15 December 2020: Two schools in Malacca – Sekolah Kebangsaan Bandar Hilir and Sekolah Menengah Kebangsaan Naning capped off this extraordinary school year with a clean sweep in the individual categories of the recent Malaysian Plastics Manufacturers Association (MPMA)-Dow School Environmental Challenge 2020.
The top three individual winners for primary were all from Sekolah Kebangsaan Bandar Hilir and the top three individual winners for secondary were all from Sekolah Menengah Kebangsaan Naning.
In the overall school category based on total average scores, Sekolah Kebangsaan Air Baruk emerged as champions for primary level, and Sekolah Menengah Kebangsaan Naning won in the secondary school category. A total of 27 schools in Malacca and a participating pool of 2,479 students across the state took part in the challenge which ran from 12 October to 20 November 2020.
The winning schools and individuals took home approximately RM26,000 worth of prizes in laptops, tablets, smartphones and cash awards.
At the virtual closing ceremony on 15 December, MPMA President, Datuk Lim Kok Boon said this year’s competition was conducted as an online quiz in response to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. “Despite the challenges posed by COVID-19, we are of the view that it is important to continue with the footprint of MPMA and Dow in Melaka on sustainability issues for the students for the fifth consecutive year. The MPMA-Dow School Environmental Challenge 2020 has therefore utilised technology in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic to reach out to students and teachers via an online quiz competition.”
This year’s challenge was a hotly contested online quiz based on an educational module made possible with the collaboration between PETRONAS Chemicals Group, Pusat STEM Negara under the Ministry of Education, MPMA and Solid Waste Corporation. The module, entitled ‘Plastic, Sustainability and You’ is designed to complement existing school curricula and emphasize the role everyone has to play in proper waste management, reducing global warming and marine litter.
Datuk Lim stated that the pandemic has made public education on proper plastics waste disposal even more critical. “Plastics has become a material that is heavily intertwined with our daily lives. One clear example is that during the current Covid-19 pandemic, we need lots of personal protective equipment, or what is more popularly known as PPEs. However, the higher utilisation of plastics products such as PPEs and food packaging has resulted in higher plastics waste. It is therefore even more important now than ever to create awareness on responsible plastics management amongst students through the practice of waste separation at source and the 3Rs (Reduce, Reuse, Recycle).”
MPMA hopes to expand its programme to other states across the country. Said Datuk Lim, “We’ve had great success with this programme in Malacca over the last four years and hope that in 2021 we will be able to expand it to other schools across Malaysia, if not physically, but at least virtually to spread the awareness on responsible plastics management nationwide. MPMA believes this is the way forward to address plastics pollution and waste management issues in the country amongst the youth.
Initially developed in 2016 as a response to the Malacca State Government’s state-wide plastics bag ban, the MPMA-DOW School Environmental Challenge has expanded from a district to state-wide programme that is supported by the Malacca State Education Department. The programme focuses on raising awareness of anti-littering, understanding the importance and value of plastics and the need for responsibly managing them via post-usage separation at source and the 3Rs.