Operation Santa Claus

Students turn green after learning facts of Hong Kong waste

Sha Tin teenagers learn in nature programme how small changes make a big difference to the environment

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 20 November, 2016, 11:40pm
UPDATED : Monday, 21 November, 2016, 4:08pm

Being environmentally friendly is now part of the daily lives of two Sha Tin students who spent months as green activists.

Rachelle Lui Ka-ching, 16, from the International Christian School, and Fok Jing-chen, 15, from Sha Tin College, spent 10 weeks learning about aspects of conservation in their community.

“Then we were able to make small but fundamental changes in our lives and we hope our peers will be inspired in the way we were,” Jing-chen said.

They were among 100 secondary students to take part in this year’s Nature Works Hong Kong Environmental Innovation and Leadership Programme.

The pair were among those inspired by a food sustainability workshop in the programme, and are putting what they learned to good use at their schools.

“My parents told me not to waste food all the time, but I would think ‘Oh it’s probably because they think I waste money’ and not about the harm to the environment ,” Rachelle said.

This changed when she learned that between 5,000 and 20,000 litres of water are required to produce 1kg of meat.

Jing-chen recalled his shock at the size of the carbon footprint created by the city through its food imports.

As a result, as part of sustainability promotion activities, gardens for growing food are being introduced at school campuses.

Rachelle now also recycles used bottles and Jing-chen rarely uses the air conditioner.

Nature Conservancy education project manager Karen Cheng Kai-shuen said more than 30 secondary schools have taken part in the programme since 2015.

As a beneficiary of Operation Santa Claus – the fundraiser ­organised by the South China Morning Post and RTHK – the programme will sponsor students like Rachelle and Jing-chen.