Written by Petricia A. Hutasoit (BNF’s Education Staff)
BNF delivers an Environmental Education Programme to raise awareness and inspire real action to tackle environmental problems. Local children from Anak Sebangau (BNF’s nature youth club near the Sebangau National Park peat-swamp forest) participate in educational experiences with fun learning methods, including field trips. We also have different environmental themes throughout the year. In June and July, we focused on waste management.
Waste management is a local environmental problem, but there is a lack of concern about the impacts. In June and July, children learnt about why waste management has become a problem, types of waste and actions to reduce waste production. At the end of July, we invited the children from Anak Sebangau to visit the Waste Processing Facilities Temporary and Final Waste Processing Site in Palangka Raya, a large town near the children’s village. The aim was to increase awareness by learning and seeing the trash directly for themselves.
The staff at the processing facilities are local residents and they gave a warm welcome to the children. The children learned the practice of the community who independently collect garbage in the waste depot.
There was a pool of leachate, which is a liquid that runs off from the garbage. This is the first time the children had seen the leachate liquid. They also learnt about composting from organic waste, especially dry leaves, starting from composting in the compost tub until the garbage decays and then can be sold.
After learning about waste management and processing, the children went to the final processing site. When they arrived, they saw rubbish that had been piled up for many years.
The staff welcomed the children and gave a brief explanation about the site. Children were advised to use face masks because of the pungent odour from the trash heaps.
Anak Sebangau were also invited to go around to see a pool of leachate from the garbage that has accumulated in the area and a place to make fertilizer from human waste. They then saw another mountain of garbage.
After the tour, the children were given the opportunity to ask questions, some questions from the children were:
- How much trash is here?
- Where will the trash end up?
- Where has the trash come from?
- How long will it take for the trash to disappear?
The information helped the children understand the journey of waste, starting from the household to the landfill. Field trips are one of the best learning methods for children because they can learn through a real-life experience to inspire care and actions to protect the local environment.