On the 13th of August 2018, Weaving Hearts Team held a talk at Institut Sinaran, a college in Kota Kinabalu. We arrived at 11.30AM and their guidance counselor, Ms. Viana Mah welcomed us warmly and led us to the hall where we were supposed to give our talk.
When we opened the door, we were so surprised and excited to see the hall was packed with students and lecturers. While setting up our laptop for the talk, their principal gave a brief introduction speech about their Environmental Day.
We started our talk at 12PM by Ms. Tan Wan Ting, our Weaving Hearts founder and organizer. First, Wan Ting introduced and explained that Weaving Hearts is a corporate social responsibility by Weave Asia, that promotes causes that are important to the environment and society.
“How many plastic straws do you think Malaysia use in a day?” Wan Ting asked. Many of them answered a thousand, two thousand, 2 million, and so on. However, one student managed to give an accurate answer. Yes, we waste 31 millions plastic straws in a day! For getting the right answer, we rewarded a set of bamboo straws to the student that answered correctly.
After that, Wan Ting showed a video clip of where our plastic straws or products go to after we dispose them. It was the popular video of a plastic straw got stuck in a poor turtle’s nostril.You might think, it’s only a plastic straw. Malaysia uses 31 Million plastic straws; Indonesia uses 93.1 Million; and USA uses 500 Million, all just in a day! There is also a research showing plastic straws used in the USA are enough to cycle around the earth 2.5 times.
When we throw our plastic products, they don’t decompose easily, and because they are non-biodegrade, they will end up becoming micro-plastic that cannot be seen by our eyes. Micro-plastic is actually becoming a part of our food chain. Imagine this food chain; a fish in the sea eats the micro-plastic that has been “swimming around” in the sea, what happens when the fish ends up as our dinner?
Wan Ting also shared an experiment she had been doing previously which was keeping and hoarding every plastic item in her room for about a week. In just a few days, the plastic items started piling up and taking up space in her room, which resulted to her mom cleaning it because it was becoming too untidy and dirty. Now, imagine this room as the sea or the ocean. We’ve been throwing rubbish in the habitat of the marine life and there’s nothing they can do about it. Their voices and cries could not be heard.
Wan Ting also mentioned that corals will extinct in 30 years based on some research. She recommended the students to take a look at a documentary call Chasing Coral. It is about a group of divers, scientists and photographers around the world documenting the disappearance of coral reefs.
So what can we do to save our earth? We can start by rejecting the use of plastic straws. If really needed, please reuse them. We also encourage students to join as volunteers in cleaning beaches or any other environmental awareness program. Even better, stop using plastic straws and swap to bamboo straws because bamboos are biodegradable and can be uses for a long time. It is also easy to clean because we provide cleaning brush too.
Our talk ended at about 12.20PM with their principal awarding us with a thank you gift on behalf of their college. Ms. Viana then led us to our booth that is located at the student lounge. Before we even started setting up our booth, a group of students already started flocking to our booth to purchase the bamboo straws.
Can you see how excited they are to contribute in helping environment. We also collected some students’ contacts who are interested in becoming volunteers in future environmental awareness projects.
We gave this to the students as a promise for not using plastic items unless necessary.
Overall, we would like to thank Institut Sinaran for giving us a chance to increase the awareness of plastic pollution in their college. It was a great experience for us.