Tidy T&T Clean School Competition 2003
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Tidy T&T Clean School Competition 2003

Following the success of Environment Tobago’s clean up of Kilgwyn wetlands at the end of last year, we are pleased to announced the launch of our second Tidy T&T project, the “Clean School Competition 2003”

The Tidy T&T competition is a national beautification campaign to encourage communities to develop projects that address environmental issues. In addition it is designed to encourage increased awareness and sensitivity to environmental problems, empowering communities to take responsibility for their surroundings. It is in this spirit that Environment Tobago is launching a “Clean School Competition,” a programme for waste reduction and pollution prevention in Tobago’s schools. We ran a similar programme in 2000 in which 29 schools took part.

Schools are one of the most important communities in any society, where the attitudes of future generations can be developed and influenced. By encouraging children at an early age to play an active role in cleaning up their surroundings, they will learn about taking responsibility for their environment, and more importantly the consequences of their own actions. This is surely one of the greatest lessons a school can offer. No doubt, many people throw litter on the ground because they think that there will always be someone else to come and pick it up after them.

In addition to fostering positive attitudes about their environment, we hope to educate children about the need to reduce solid waste pollution and more importantly about ways in which to reduce solid waste generation. Prevention is always better that cure and by reducing, re-using and re-cycling solid waste, there would be a lot less to dispose of in the first place.

The competition will be open to all Primary and Secondary schools in Tobago and we hope to receive a good response this year, especially as the competition will complement the Environmental Education Teacher Training Workshops that we have been running recently. A representative from Environment Tobago will visit each school that enters the competition, in order to launch the project, speak to teachers and children and distribute teacher’s information booklets. The booklet will include background information on the solid waste issue in Tobago, practical tips on how to take action to solve the problem and teaching activities.

Judges will visit schools unannounced, during the last week of the competition and score schools on a) the amount of litter in the school grounds and the classrooms, b) the beautification of the school grounds and the classrooms, c) the management and co-ordination of student participation d) the reduction in generation of solid waste in the school by demonstrating reduce, re-use and re-cycle principles and composting and e) poster and garbage bin design.

The Tidy T&T Challenge Trophy and a cash prize will be awarded to the school that performs best overall in the judging criteria outlined above, while additional prizes will be given to the tidiest school, the best beautification initiative, the most effective management of student participation, the best re-cycling initiative and the best composting initiative. A special prize will also be given to the students who design the best poster and garbage bin.

Letters have been sent out to all the principles of schools in Tobago outlining further details of the competition. Schools wishing to register should phone Environment Tobago on 660-7462. The deadline for registration is Friday 17th January. Visits to schools to launch the competition will take place during the week beginning Monday 27th January. Judging will take place during the week beginning Monday 24th March, giving schools 2 months in which to implement their “clean school” initiatives.

We strongly urge all schools to participate in this worthwhile and educational activity. By first taking pride in their schools and their immediate surroundings, children will grow to extend that feeling of pride to the whole island. - By Anoushka Visvalingam - January 2003

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