In partnership with the World Wide Fund (WWF), Environment Agency – Abu Dhabi (EAD) and Centre for Environment Education (CEE), Bhavans Natura, Eco club of Private International English School – Bhavans Abu Dhabi, was able to partake in the Young Leaders Plastic Challenge. It is a pilot project of EAD executed from the month of April to June to educate and equip the youth in terms of saying ‘no’ to single-use plastic in their daily life.

The Challenge constitutes 3 main levels – Level 1 (Entry Level), Level 2 (Leader Level) and Level 3 (Champion Level) – Each one of these separate levels focuses on a different outcome.

During this chain of events, multiple influential personalities took time to converse with the students on Ocean Plastic Pollution along with Plastic Pollution as a whole.

 Sainath Manikandan, a young environmentalist and member of Emirates Environmental Group (EEG) and Ambassador of Drop It Youth, Safi Roshdy, the Founder of Ahlan Wa Sahlan and successful entrepreneur along with Shannon Glasgow, a senior language instructor and coordinator of the College of Arts & Sciences in Abu Dhabi University (ADU) and Aya Issa Ghazal, a Chemical Engineering student of ADU were the Guest Speakers and Chief Guests who inspired us to embark on this journey to attain a plastic-pollution free planet through their enlightening words.

“When you create an awareness, that’s when change can happen”

  1. Shannon Glasgow

“It is not just about learning, but how we can translate

that information in our daily lives”

  1. Safi Roshdy

Accompanying these inspirational guests were of course our school’s leading personas consisting of our Principal, Mrs. Girija Baiju who has always been a vibrant nature enthusiast along with one of our greatest stimulative leaders, Vice Principal, Mr. Suresh V. Balakrishnan who has been fueling us with energy and positive thoughts.

“If we work together, we can bring it (serenity of nature) back”

  1. Suresh V. Balakrishnan (Vice Principal)

Our wonderful teachers dedicated their time and effort in overlooking these activities. The immense support provided by our loving parents can never go unnoticed along with the assistance of our school’s senior students.

The Plastic Challenge started with the Entry Level which helped the students to realize the impact they have in the ever-growing problem of plastic pollution through a simple audit/survey.

This was followed by the Leader Level which encouraged students to spread awareness in their community through webinars and interactive activities. Each class held their webinar, inviting people to join in our journey to make a change.

The webinars conducted by eco warriors of Grade 9 enlightened the community and changed their perspective on the situation. There was a variety of artworks created by the students. Thought provoking messages were conveyed by the youth through expressive poems, hands-on activities like crafts which grabbed the attention of the audience and suggested alternatives of reducing plastic waste.

The program concluded with an exhibition held by the Grade 9 students as a team. Mr. Shannon Glasgow and Ms. Aya Issa Ghazal moved the audience with a commendable presentation on Plastic Pollution and more importantly Bioplastics and its advantages. This was followed by a prophetic declamation about the hazards of man’s indiscriminate interference with nature that sensitized the viewers. The Eco champs displayed their creativity with arts & crafts created with plastic, an entrancing dance, poems and posters on the topic and a motivational speech all with one underlying idea, ‘BE THE CHANGE’.

The Young Leaders Plastic Challenge has left a positive and lasting impact on the community as a whole. It has made us take stronger strides towards a cleaner and a safer planet for all humans, plants and animals. This isn’t the end but just the beginning. The path ahead will be a challenging one but that shouldn’t discourage us from achieving our goals. Every single change starts with YOU!

Reported by

Usha Kumari

Coordinator SSI & Eco Club


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