Indulgent lifestyle an obstacle to green efforts
Students used to air-conditioning and indulgent parents are the biggest obstacles to saving power at school, teachers said in a recent survey.
In a phone questionnaire, environmental organisation Friends of the Earth (FoE) interviewed 178 teachers in kindergarten, primary and secondary schools asking about energy-saving on campus.
Eighty per cent said the schools were mindful of such efforts, but 73 per cent said the schools faced resistance when implementing green policies, especially on air conditioners.
While most of the schools have set rules on air-conditioning, such as when to use it and at what temperature, the teachers said there were often challenges from both students and parents.
Since schools usually charge an air-conditioning fee to cover costs, many students and parents believed they had the right to use it whenever they felt hot, even when it was only 22 degrees Celsius, some of the teachers said.
The teachers also blamed parents for indulging their children at home.
FoE (HK) environmental affairs manager Hahn Chu Hon-keung said the right to use air-conditioning comes with responsibility.
'Parents should try to be a good model of propriety for their kids,' he said.
'Our over-indulgence will make Hong Kong's temperature rise, making the next generation the ultimate victims of warming.'
He suggested that teachers put both air-conditioners and fans on mild speed at 25.5 degrees Celsius so that students sitting far away from them can feel the cooling effect as well.
He also urged schools to launch more promotional activities to raise students' environmental awareness.
St Bonaventure Catholic Primary School is one such example, as it set up a Green Ambassador Team of students a few years ago.
Primary Six ambassador Karman Cheung said their duty is to patrol the school during breaks and after lessons to see if any classes have forgotten to turn off the air conditioners and remind students and teachers that air-conditioning is only allowed when the temperature is 25.5 degrees Celsius.
'Some schoolmates are not very co-operative. I have to remind them again and again,' said the 11-year-old.
'But I think it's worth it because we help save energy.'
FoE is calling schools to join its Power Smart contest.
For details, visit www.foe.org.hk or call 2528 5588.
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