Turn off the idle engines

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 12 June, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 12 June, 2007, 12:00am

Ten students from Chinese International School (CIS) decided to clear an area near their school of cars with idling engines.

The students launched a scheme to persuade drivers to switch off their idling engines.

The students made rounds after lessons. Then they talked to drivers who left their engines on in order to keep the air conditioning working.

'We approached the drivers and politely asked them to switch off their engines. Flyers about the effects of the polluting practice were also given out. We gave a bottle of water to each driver who agreed to turn off their engine,' said Christ Chan, a Year 10 student.

Approaching strangers turned out to be a less challenging challenge than the students had thought. 'More than 80 per cent of the drivers agreed to our request. They were also willing to listen to our views on environmental conservation,' said 15-year-old Christ.

For Andrea See, 14, language was the biggest obstacle in her environmental work.

'I can't speak Cantonese and most drivers didn't understand English. I used gestures and body movements to get my message across,' she said.

The students were proud that they could do something to save the Earth.

'The exhaust fumes from the idling engines add to the pollution problem in the city. While drivers enjoy a momentary respite from the heat, they are polluting the environment,' said Andrea.

David Brian, head of humanities at the school, said: 'As part of a programme to encourage efficient use of lighting, students have been urged to persuade their parents to replace the conventional light bulbs with energy-efficient [ones]. With students acting as environmental ambassadors to spread green messages, [we] hope that more people will wake up to the urgent environmental crisis the Earth faces.'