Guam – Students at Simon Sanchez High School aren’t just concerned about litter, they want to reduce the amount of trash that goes to the island’s landfill each week.
The students are learning about the zero-waste philosophy through a service learning project being led by the school’s science faculty.
“Zero waste to me means making a cleaner and better place to live in,” SSHS Freshman John Escano told PNC. “You don’t have to worry about an over piling landfill.”
Students participating in the zero waste campaign take time out of the their lunch breaks to sort through the trash at their school, keeping 15 to 20 pounds of cans and plastics from entering the landfill each week.
“We’ve been coming in and we’ve been recycling,” Juliana Taitano, a sophomore, said. “It’s very important because we’re getting all the students to recycle all of their trash instead of throwing it away and polluting the island.”
The Sharks are participating in the zero waste campaign through i*recycle, and get money for the aluminum cans they collect. According to teacher Mary Garvilles the program brings in about $1,000 for the school each year. That money is used to purchase recycling materials and to beautify the campus.
“Zero waste is a good program it opens a lot of new things to us it makes us think twice about what do,” Freshman Kimmi Yee said of the program.
Among the things to consider, the students say, is the chemicals in products that we throw away. Freshman William Sablan says he’s concerned about landfill leaching.
“Landfill leaching is when the chemicals and other liquid materials from trash seep into the aquifers that pump water into our homes,” Sablan explained. “This water is things like your shower water, your sink water. So basically pollution isn’t something you see on tv its also something something that affects our plants our animals and ultimately us also.”
Sophomore Jewel Guerrero adds that she’s concerned about the future of the island, if nothing is done to reduce waste today.
“One day what if Guam is just piles of trash everywhere and we’re gonna have to evacuate because we can’t be able to live here anymore because its harmful to us,” Guerrero stated.