IURC Portuguese Eco-School Delegation to Seberang Perai

Categorized as News from Asia & Australasia, News from IURC

11-16 September 2023

The Seberang Perai City Council hosted the Camilo Castelo Branco School Group (AECCB) delegation which was jointly led by Ms. Raquel Azevedo, Coordinator of the Eco-Schools Programme and Chef Ricardo Lanção, Professional Cooking and Pastry Technician at the AE Camila Castelo Branco (AECCB) of Famalicão. Two top students Mr. Gabriel Torres and Mr. Joāo Fontes were selected to join the eco-school student exchange programme in Seberang Perai from 11 to 16 September 2023.

The national operator for eco-schools in Malaysia, Green Growth Asia Foundation was represented by Mr. Sri Themudu  Bully Baboo (Chief Programme Officer), Mr. Abdullah bin Nudin (Executive) and Mr. Mohammad Izad bin Ahmad Nazir (Executive).

Below are the following key takeaways:

Day 1

The Impacts of Marine Litter in Our Oceans at Valdor Secondary School and Beach Audit (applying Ocean Conservancy Data Sheet during International Coastal Clean-up Day) at Batu Musang Jetty @ Batu Kawan

Summary: Individually we are a drop, together we are an ocean. Tackling the marine litter problem requires team work and tenacity. The students participated actively during the 2-hour lecture delivered by Dr. Annette Jaya Ram, Centre for Marine and Coastal Studies (CEMACS), Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM) and found the science exhibition very insightful. Reducing the use of single use plastics is vital. The top three trash categories after the clean-up were cigarette butts, grocery bags and straws.  34 students were divided into 7 groups. They were facilitated by teachers and the CEMACS, USM team. They collected 59.5 kg of trash in 1 hour. They learned how to apply Ocean Conservancy’s methodology in data collection and how to carry out a beach audit. The students were also encouraged to practice rethink, refuse, reduce, reuse in their daily lives and the importance of circular thinking.

Day 2

Upcycling Workshops with B40 community groups:
Tzu Chi Merit Society and Kepala Gajah Upcycling Association

Summary: The youths learned that “what we cannot send for recycling we can upcycle into products for sale”. A compilation of activities was organised during the workshops to showcase how creativity is applied to manage waste effectively, raise funds for charity to benefit the poor and needy. Youths as climate action leaders, can contribute efforts outside of school hours with various community groups (vulnerable groups) and participate in various upcycling activities. It also allows them to spend quality time with the elderly and embark in meaningful things during their free time. The two Portuguese students learned how to weave baskets from hard to recycle plastic packaging and from old newspaper.

Day 3

Eco-School Vocational Training (closing the loop on e-waste and food waste)
and site visit to Junjong Orchard Farm

Summary: Electronic waste/e-waste is a problem in Penang. During the eco-vocational training session at the computer labs, youths had a better understanding on how to close the loop on e-waste by practicing repair, reuse and redistribute with tools working in teams. Old computers repaired can be given to poor students who cannot afford to buy new computers. This eco-school vocational training programme with the first cohort of students was made possible with the sponsorship from Flex, Lions Club Bayan Baru and Politeknik METrO Tasek Gelugor. This was Seberang Perai City Council’s second pilot project in collaboration with the private sector and academia. In relation to closing the loop on food waste, teachers and students explored various local & traditional recipes using leftover food. They explored and applied “Creativity with culture, tradition and flavours”. The Portuguese Chef and students  shared with Malaysian students how to make Muffins de Bolacha  Maria or Maria Muffins made from cookie leftovers converted to cookie flour. The afternoon session was a combination of fun, interactive learning and sharing ideas on reducing food waste inspired by Camilo Castelo Banco’s project Less IS More.

At the Junjong Orchard Farm, the youths were given a site visit and a taste of local fruits. The owners shared how they applied solar panels on the hut’s roof tops to power energy and how they practice rain water harvesting at an orchard farm with undulating landscape.

Day 4

Eco-School projects at Convent Butterworth Secondary School, Bagan Ajam Zero Waste Market Programme followed by Students’ Presentation and Submissions at the Seberang Perai City Council 

Summary: The Portuguese teachers and students were exposed and given a site tour of the 23 projects implemented by the eco-school and an update of the 23 community projects that the students have been participating in the last 2 years. Five stations in the assembly hall were prepared to showcase and invite the Portuguese teachers and students to participate in (a) making a skipping rope out of single use plastic bags (b) soap making using used cooking oil (c) making reusable bags from discarded t-shirts (d) creating bouquet of roses from discarded pandan leaves and (e) using leftover rice to make steam Apam. 

Later, the Portuguese teachers and students were taken for a site tour of Seberang Perai City Council’s first pilot project which was completed after the technical study visit to Portugal. They witnessed how the Bagan Ajam wet market vendors were segregating their waste and giving it to KGreen Enviro Tech Sdn Bhd for composting. They each took back a bag of compost.

The eco-school programme ended with a debriefing session at Kenanga Room, Seberang Perai City Council. The session was chaired by Mr. Ahmad Zabri bin Mohamed Sarajudin, Director, Urban Services Department who delivered the welcoming remarks and co-chaired by Ms. Heng Yeh Shiuan, City Councillor and Mr. Mohd Naim bin Mohd Ali, Senior Assistant Director, Urban Services Department.

Ms. Raquel Azevedo, Coordinator for the Eco-School Programme at Camilo Castelo Branco, Vila Nova de Famalicão provided the opening remarks followed by the presentation of key lessons learned by Mr. Joāo Fontes and Mr. Gabriel Torres (16-year-olds) and three eco-school flagship projects, which they are currently implementing. This was followed by a presentation by Ms. Kaelyn Thong, Ms. Laaranya a/p Senthil Kumar and Ms. Ainul Iman Binti Mohd Ismail (16-year-olds) from Convent Butterworth Secondary School, Seberang Perai. The final presentation was delivered by Mr. Henry Teh Gian Wei, Ms. Loo Qing Yang and Ms. Prasana a/p Jayabalan (17-year-olds) from Valdor Secondary School, Seberang Perai. Closing remarks were jointly delivered by Ms. Jacqueline Chang, Country Coordinator | Circular Economy Specialist, IURC Asia-Australasia and Mr. Sri Themudu Bully Baboo, Chief Programme Officer, Green Growth Asia Foundation. The session ended with a presentation of mementos, group photos and a networking session.

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