To Mark World Sea Turtles Day
Abu Dhabi, 20th June 2021: The Environment Agency – Abu Dhabi (EAD) has announced the winners of the Tide Turner Plastic Challenge in celebration of World Sea Turtles Day. The challenge was launched in March, on the occasion of World Water Day, in partnership with the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), and was designed to educate students about the harm caused by single-use plastics and invite them to take part in combatting this global problem and become future advocates of change.
Twenty winners were announced from three schools, including: 13 contenders from St Joseph School Abu Dhabi, five winners from Private International School, and two students from Future International Academy.
The Tide Turner Plastic Challenge aims to convince the younger generation to reconsider their plastic consumption and understand how plastic pollution is negatively affecting ocean life, other water bodies and on land. It also encourages them to find solutions to reduce the consumption of single-use plastics, and motivate friends, family, schools, and their communities to participate in the challenge and join an entire generation of young leaders championing change in the world.
The challenge was developed for students aged 11-18, in addition to members of environmental clubs in 20 public and private schools in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi. To participate in the challenge there was a maximum limit of 50 participants permitted from each sustainable schools network.
With three tiered levels of competition – entry, leader or champion – and using a point-scoring system, achieving enough points at each level allowed the participant to move onto the challenge’s next stage. At each level, the participants were introduced to basic information to facilitate further learning about important topics related to single-use plastics, waste and pollution.
The challenge received a total of 385 submissions from 19 participants in the EAD-pioneered Sustainable School Initiative, which includes both private and government schools. Of this total, 228 were entry level submissions, 89 submissions passed the leader level, and 80 achieving champion level.
Rasha Ali Al Madfai, Section Manager – Environmentally Sustainable Schools
Environmental Information, Science & Outreach Management from EAD said: “The Tide Turner Challenge was an extremely successful initiative, and the judges were very pleased with the quality of work done by the students who took part despite the pandemic to ensure that they completed the challenge. I would like to congratulate all the winners and thank them for their creative and inspiring work.
She added: “As part of the challenge, to assess the success of the Tide Turner Plastics Challenge and student’s plastic footprint, we conducted an audit on the participants before and after and the results were remarkable, providing a very clear reduction in the consumption of single-use plastics by students. This is a positive sign for the future and an assurance that future generations value the protection of the environment.”
The positive results of the plastic footprint audit revealed that from a total of 239 students, 88 students used poly bags weekly, but after the challenge this number dropped considerably to 15 students. Similarly, 24 students used packaged drinking water daily, which reduced to only 2 students. Fifty-six students used single use cutlery weekly, dropping to 9 students, while only one student used packaged food, down from a total of 14 students at the beginning of the challenge.
The winners from St. Joseph School were Michelle Mariya Payammal, Keran Rayana Benchamin, Mahalekshmi Sumesh, Akshara Sajeesh Nair, Leah March Rodrigues, Marisa Paul, Shobhiyaa Panneer, Megha Maulik Munshi, Aiswarya Biju, Dhanishka Vijesh, Hazel Monteiro, Maryam Alia Muhammad Suni and Aakarsha Korada.
From Private International School the winners were: Nethra Praveen Kumar, Aisha Shah, Akshita Parikh, Divya Chakka, Gnanasree Donavalli, while from Future International Academy they were Najma Belvana Fatiha and Erich Klair De Jesus.