Keep a Clean School Competition
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Keep a Clean School Competition

As part of a programme aimed at reducing littering, Environment TOBAGO organized its first annual KEEP A CLEAN SCHOOL COMPETITION. Officially sanctioned by the THA Division of Education, the competition was open to all primary and secondary schools in Tobago.

To launch the competition, posters and one thirty gallon litter bin were provided to every school in Tobago. The bins were donated by the Tourism and Industrial Development Corporation (TIDCO).

Clean School Poster

The competition began on 17th February and ended on 10th June, 1999. The volunteer judges were: Mr. Keston McLetchie, Ms. Neila Bobb, Ms. Pat Turpin, Ms. Earlyn Craig, Ms. Wendy Herron, Mr. Stephen Hayton, Ms. Joanna Legall and Mr. Kamau Akili. Visits to schools by the judges were unannounced.

The evaluation of the schools by the team of judges produced some interesting findings. The schools that performed best were those which had an organized programme in which students participated in cleaning the school grounds and classrooms. At St. Joseph's Convent, which was adjudged to be the cleanest school overall, the students have been given full responsibility for keeping classrooms free of litter. A similar situation was found at Scarborough SDA Primary, which won the first prize in the primary school category. At these two schools the programmes of student involvement existed before the start of the competition and are considered a necessary part of the students' education. On the other hand, it was found that at the schools which relied heavily on a cleaning staff for solid waste management, the incidence of littering was relatively high.

Another important finding was that at some schools there were not enough garbage bins to service the student populations. In some instances, overflowing garbage bins were found at the end of the luncheon period and students had resorted to depositing litter on the ground around the bins. This is something that needs to be avoided at all costs as it serves to reinforce a negative practice. Several principals asked that more litter bins be provided for their schools and this will have to be done.

It was disappointing that only 28 schools participated in the competition out of the total of 48 primary and secondary schools on the island. Also, some of the teaching staff did not seem to understand or appreciate the aim of the exercise. At one school the free litter bin was being kept in the principal’s office, inaccessible to the students. Another principal asked if the litter bin would be taken away if her school did not participate in the competition.

Most of the participating schools demonstrated reductions in the incidence of littering and improvements in the overall management of solid waste. The challenge for the future is that of achieving further improvements outside of a competitive environment and more importantly, to reinforce the positive attitudes developed by the students, so that they will continue to avoid the practice of littering where ever they may go.
Scarborough SDA
J. B. Fernandes Memorial Trust
Table Piece Government
Environment TOBAGO.
Charlotteville Methodist
Island Distributors
St. Joseph's Convent
J. B. Fernandes Memorial Trust
Signal Hill Comprehensive
Environment TOBAGO
Bishops High School
Turtle Beach Hotel
Congratulations to ST. JOSEPH'S CONVENT for being THE CLEANEST SCHOOL OVERALL and winner of the COLFIRE CHALLENGE TROPHY. Who will win the trophy next year?

Environment TOBAGO expresses sincere thanks to the THA Department of the Environment, TIDCO, the Solid Waste Management Company, Island Distributors, Almandoz and Turtle Beach Hotel for their generous assistance.
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