I have the good fortune of working with Phuket International Academy (PIA) during their Week Without Walls Off Campus Learning excursions and have come to know the school and the excellent educators there very well.
Last April, I was very lucky to circumnavigate Phuket by kayak with both James & Dan from PIA during our GREEN Paddlers expedition. During our journey we raised awareness for marine conservation issues and focused on sustainable solutions as part of our personal Service Learning Project to take action for sustainability in SE Asia.
Last Friday. Oct. 31st members of the PIADS and Thanyapura community came together to clean our Soi (street).
The event was a success based on the many bags of trash we collected, as well as the many student and teacher reflections that spoke both constructively and positively of the event.
Although it was hot, and initially the students didn’t see the need, as the Soi appeared to be clean, many students were surprised by just how much garbage was hiding in the grass just off the road.
There was a great deal of effort put forth, and while working away some meaningful conversations were taking place amongst the students. The question “Why so much garbage?” and “How can we make it better?” were asked. Ideas like education, more bins, no littering signs, CCTV cameras and fines for those who litter were all discussed.
Some students noted that the garbage hot spots were closest to homes, and the types of things found were mostly plastic bags, straws, energy drink bottles, and styrofoam. There were larger objects like a couch, large signs and even a toilet seat!
Now that we have adopted our Soi, we will need to make sure we take good care of it moving forward.
I hope we can take action on some of the ideas expressed by our students.
Here are a few direct quotes from students that summarize their experience as well as give hope that the next time we do it, we will use their constructive feedback to make it an even more successful event.
“I really enjoyed doing this service and helping to clean the Soi and bonding with other people.”
“Overall good experience: I did not realize how much rubbish was really on the road side.”
“The soi cleaning was a great opportunity for community and service.”