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Cyprus Education

Pupils to be given environmentally-friendly utensils on return to school

20200911 113245
Education Minister Prodromos Prodromou inspecting a school in Limassol

Pupils will be given a bamboo drinking straw, a water bottle and a cloth school bag when they go to school on Monday as part of government efforts to combat plastic and raise environmental awareness among the young.

This was announced by Education Minister Prodromos Prodromou at a press conference at Limassol’s Lanition high school on Friday.

The campaign will start off with pupils in higher secondary schools (lyceums) and technical schools, he said.

“Plastic threatens quality of life, perhaps life itself. And our aim is that by the end of the school year in July 2021 to be ready for the European Union’s directive abolishing single use plastics,” the minister said.

Concerted efforts will be needed since, despite an 80% drop in one-use plastic bags since 2018, Cypriots still throw some 700 kilos of solid waste a year per capita – well over the 450 EU27 average – and of the 700 kilos a large part is plastic, he said.

Prodromou said that he was confident high school pupils will play their part in cultivating greater sensitivity to environmental protection and sustainability.

Use of cloth masks that will be distributed free by OPAP Cyprus to all secondary school pupils will further help entrench the message against waste.

In Limassol, Prodromou toured other schools and spoke to teachers and heads about preparations for Monday’s start of the academic year.

He said efforts to obtain single desks for the pupils were continuing and pending that, separations have been installed for bigger desks as the only alternative. Prodromou said there were cases of smaller classrooms where the alternative solution would have been to have lessons rotate morning and afternoon, by exception.

“To avoid this, the temporary solution is to join three desks to serve five children. If the case arises that in three or four schools the space in classrooms is so tight and this cannot be done, we will be obliged to resort to afternoons. But at the moment, all the schools are ready to operate,” he said.

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