Sitting on Mr William’s desk is a tub full of plastic debris, which he keeps as a constant reminder of the plastic pollution problem we face today. As the Headteacher of Byron College, he uses this box of broken up plastic bits to motivate students and teachers to become more active in tackling this problem.
At the end of 2020, Byron College, a British International School in Athens, joined forces with Common Seas to become one of the first Ocean Plastics Academy Pioneer schools in Greece.
Ocean Plastics Academy (OPA) is a movement to empower the next generation to create a plastic waste-free future.
Developed in collaboration with a broad coalition of educators, scientists and industry experts, OPA combines a suite of resources with practical activities that help young people radically reduce their use of single-use plastics- at school, at home and in their community.
Ms. Alexandra Voulpiotis, used the OPA resources within the Global Perspectives Curriculum, to inspire and support a year 9 project in which students worked together to help the local community reduce plastics waste. The project was launched by Sarah Duffy, OPA Project Manager, with a digital workshop for students before they spent several weeks developing their ideas. Common Seas were invited to attend a presentation of the student’s work and we were blown away by the skill and motivation of the students.
One group designed and built a website from scratch, which aims to promote the impact and importance of reducing waste through videos, articles, posters, infographics, statistics and online questionnaires. You can take a look for yourself here. The second group created a campaign, aimed at local supermarkets to encourage shoppers to choose and use fewer plastic items. See their infographics here. This brilliant work was all carried out remotely whilst schools remained shut.
“By doing this project and the research I learned a lot about plastic in oceans and facts and how bad it is overall. I always knew it was bad, but I didn’t realize it was bad at this extent.” - Byron College Student
The above picture is of Headteacher Mr Williams, holding a bag of plastic debris following a recent beach clean.
Since then, Byron College has launched 'The 200 Challenge', as a celebration of Greek independence through positive action. As part of this, and with support from Common Seas, they are calling on 200 local families to make a pledge and help clean up a small area of beach each time they visit.
“The problem of ocean plastics affects us all. We will be using the Ocean Plastics Academy programme, as it is based on positive action, as the cornerstone of our environmental education that we are developing across the school.” Matthew Williams - Headteacher
Stay tuned to hear more about the amazing work Byron College are doing to help save our seas from Plastic Pollution.