Manjunath Nayak:

School students in Karnataka collect and recycle used pens and markers to preserve the environment. As part of “Save Earth” campaign, students in Nargund have been collecting used pens and plastic ink fillers in Gadag district.

This campaign to recycle stationery items started four years ago and students of Jnana Mudra Public school of Nargund town have been collecting used items and sending it for recycling to clean up their surroundings. Consequently, students from other schools too are visiting this school to adopt this innovative initiative.

The campaign “Save Earth” was started by this author in this district, a few years ago. Initially, the campaign started with just four students who were asked to collect all used items like pens, white board markers, ink pots from students as also pens from their teachers.

Initially, they could collect only 100 used pens but later with the involvement of many students, the collection of used items increased. Further, teachers also asked all students of the school to bring used pens and collect it in a box.

Students who were involved in the campaign like Spandana Mantur, Siri Javali, Druva Hireninganagoudra and Abhilash Ambiger (all 7th standard) said, “We have collected nearly 10,000 pens. They are now being sent for proper recycling. We see many people using plastic but after its use, throw it here and there as awareness levels are nil. This is a small step from our side. If other schools too take up such campaigns, we can recycle lakhs of such used pens and markers.”

The entire staff of the school were actively involved in this campaign to make the Save Earth movement a success. Basavaraj Kerur, storekeeper said in the aftermath of this campaign students have stopped disposing off used pens in the waste bin and are rather dropping it in the collection box. The campaign has picked up and motivated many students and teachers in the district to recycle pens. In fact, it has gained good response.

V G Mamatageri, School President said, “We have started it to create awareness among our children. Nowadays, it has become a fashion to use a pen and throw it. Earlier, a few decades back, we used to change the refill and keep the pen for years together and some of us even used ink pens. The campaign has gained a big response and we are happy that our students have realized the importance of recycling. The campaign has been welcomed by parents too.”

Environmental Science is part of our school curriculum, informed Andanayya Viraktamath, school secretary and added, “But such things should be done practically and not just study about it. This campaign will help students to understand better the need to save our environment. This is one of our steps towards nature conservation.”

(The Author is an Academician & Biodiversity Researcher.)