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What’s causing that pollution?: Workshop by Reniscience Education

January 15, 2015 • Posted in: News, Workshops

Everyday, we expel unnatural and harmful elements into our surroundings. In the beginning, they are nothing more than a mere inconvenience, however, over time, we experience the full effects of our actions.

Whether it is littering in our immediate environment, creating a ruckus in the neighbourhood, contaminating our water bodies or simply putting into the atmosphere gases that do no good for us, we pollute in many ways.

This month, the students learnt about the pollution around them in this workshop by Reniscience Education. Sangita Kapadia and Purvi Vora took the students out of the classrooms all around- into the village, by their lake, by the roads- to examine the impact through the pollution created in the village.

Through a pollution survey, the students were meant to identify the greatest sources of pollution and later, come up with solutions to best tackle the issue.

Students in the village of Kohka conducting the pollution survey.

Students in the village of Kohka conducting the pollution survey.

Beginning with the village, the students looked at the litter in their school, around their houses and near the village temple. The results were similar; a predominance of plastic carry bags, plastic in the form of biscuit packet wrappers and other packaged food items. Without a proper disposal system, these plastic items simply fly around, hang on trees or lodge themselves in a nook. However, they do not meet a proper end after their full life.

Students filling up their pollution surveys based on the litter present in their village and around their school.

Students filling up their pollution surveys based on the litter present in their village and around their school.

A closer look at the litter in their school had the students doing a small experiment to understand how bio degradable an item is and how long it takes to degrade. The students decided to dig a few pits and put different items in each to determine how long they take to degrade.

Next, the students went to nala by the Kohka lake. Once again, they examined the litter around the lake and tried to determine its impact on the water . This is the same water the students drink and use in their households. What impact would plastic litter have on their lake? This was exactly what they would find out at the end of their workshop.

Examining the quality of the nala's surroundings.

Examining the quality of the nala’s surroundings.

After a trip to every location, the students returned to the E-Base with their observation. Here’s a copy of one of the student’s worksheets.

One of our students' worksheets.

One of our students’ worksheets.

Having gathered all the data necessary, Sangita and Purvi asked them to analyse it to answer questions like, which kind of waste they saw the most and why they thought this was. Which were the areas they saw the least and most pollution and what they though were the causes of this. Finally, which of these types of pollution are more harmful to the the environment, animals, birds and humans and why this was.

Sangita helping students understand their data collected through the survey by questioning them.

Sangita helping students understand their data collected through the survey by questioning them.

They students had some unique answers and decided to come up with quick solutions, at least to the smaller problems that can be tackled at a micro level. They decided to cut their use of plastic carry bags by creaying paper bags from old news papers from hotels around the area. They determined that at the least this will drastically reduce the amount of plastic waste found in their areas.

Students making paper carry bags at the E-Base.

Students making paper carry bags at the E-Base.

To end, the students learnt about the effect of toxic pollution on our water and atmosphere. They were introduced to the nature of acidic and basic elements and ‘acid precipitation’. Our water, for example, should not be acidic. When we litter around our water bodies, we increase their acidity, which is extremely harmful to all who use the water. Similarly, our air must be clean in order ot receive clean fresh water.

The students had one eventful weekend doing the surveys, analyzing their data, brainstorming solutions and having a ball testing different objects to determine their acidic and basic natures.

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