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Nature Reserve & Biological Station

  • Alwina and Stephanie

Environmental Education – Let's talk about trash!

To inform the kids from Las Tolas, the neighbouring village of Un poco del Chocó, about trash and pollution, we decided to prepare a workshop for them. Since in Ecuador the pollution is very bad and the environmental awareness very low, we found it necessary to show them the importance of trash separation, recycling, reduction of plastic use, etc.

In preparation of the trash workshop we collected ideas to exemplify important key elements with games and illustrations. We (Nicole, Stephanie, Alwina and Dominik) created a time schedule for last Saturday from 9am to 3pm. For the illustrations we drew a poster and items on little cards that represented the way of all kinds of plastic into the ocean. On the internet we searched for meaningful videos and graphs. We also upcycled empty toilet paper rolls and old plastic bottles into colourful flower pots and decoration so we could show examples to the kids.

Some of the collected trash ready to be seperated

Saturday morning, Wilo, Stephanie and Dominik went to Las Tolas to pick up the six kids who wanted to participate. On their way back, they collected trash from the street. “BASURA, BASURA!”, they yelled, jumped motivated out of the car and picked it up. In just 30 minutes the kids collected a total of three big bags of trash along the roadside. After they arrived at the station, Nicole told them basic facts about trash and they started separating trash into the categories organic, plastic, glass, paper/carton, hazardous and residual waste.

How long does a plastic bag need to decompose?

With the separated garbage, we went behind the station where we prepared a time line. We just pinned different decomposition time spans to our clothes line and let the kids guess where to put what kind of garbage. They build two teams - boys vs. girls. A little competition always helps to keep up the motivation ;). Most guesses were close to the actual decomposition time but there were also a few surprises. The girls were so motivated, that they won that game.

How does the trash end up in the ocean?

Three short videos followed the game. All three videos featured the way of plastic into the ocean and its damage. To make sure they understood the problematic, we gave them the prepared poster and the cards that showed little items that contain plastic and let them put the card on the right spots.

Recycling relay race