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Students help unmask island's PPE waste

Students help unmask island's PPE waste

Tuesday 16 February 2021

Students help unmask island's PPE waste


Students at JCG are urging islanders to wear reusable face masks and crack down on the amount of waste amassed from disposable PPE.

Year 8 students Carys and Kaia are leading a school campaign, having designed a poster urging islanders, “Don’t be blind to all the waste.”

Explaining the rationale behind their #ChooseResuableFacemask campaign, the pair told Express: “It is very troubling that the Plastic Waste Innovation Hub has reported that the UK alone is expecting an extra 66,000 tons of contaminated face coverings this year.

“The Environment, Science and technology journal also reported that 194 billion disposable gloves and masks are being used globally every month!"

They continued: “We feel our JCG community should be trying to reduce this number. In school we have learnt about how we have to protect our environment.

“In History this year we have learnt about fast fashion, in Biology we learnt about plastic pollution and in RS we wrote speeches about protecting wildlife. We feel it’s time to stop talking and act! Let’s try and say goodbye to as many disposable masks as possible.”

Principal Carl Howarth added: “Our students are incredibly conscious of humanity’s impact upon the environment and see our actions through this prism.

“We’re so proud that Kaia and Carys are leading the College in continuing to remind us all why we need to look after our world. Even more so during this pandemic.”

Express has been campaigning to tackle the ‘pandemic’ of masks littered across the island, launching a plea to islanders back in November encouraging them to dispose of masks responsibly.

St_Ouen.JPG

Pictured: A discarded mask at St Ouen.

Amongst the campaign’s backers are Environment Minister Deputy John Young, who said when it launched: “What nobody wants is to have these thrown away, littered in the street and so on because obviously they do include plastics. It will degrade, it will break up – we’ve got enough problems in the island with micro-plastics in our environment, in our waters, washed into the sea.

“People shouldn’t be throwing them on the floor, they should be put in the bins provided. That’s the safest thing.”

Plastic Free Jersey’s Sheena Brockie also got behind the campaign, saying: “For me, the key thing is that whilst we might need to wear the masks, there’s no need for them to be single-use and there’s an impact if we just use single use when we don’t have to…

"We need to be making sure that we have more than one and that we’re washing them in enough time to make sure we’re not harbouring any covid on them. So if you are wearing a reusable, make sure that you’re changing them frequently, washing them to make sure you keep yourself safe."

While many took the message to heart, islanders have still been spotting examples of PPE littered across the island - including in beauty spots.

Training for an upcoming charity walk, Sheena recently found 23 individual pieces of PPE.

"Please, please, please consider reusable PPE - this plastic pollution is just getting out of control!" she pleaded on Facebook.

GET INVOLVED: Express wants as many islanders as possible to get involved in the bid to keep our streets, green spaces and oceans PPE-free.

If you see any examples, tag Express on or Twitter (@BailiwickXpress) or send a photo to editor@bailiwickexpress.com.

See our gallery below for examples of what examples of PPE littering islanders have found so far.

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