As part of the activities of the “School Network for a Healthy Environment", and realizing the major role of schools in promoting the public endorsement of good environmental practices, the department of Environmental Health at the Faculty of Health Sciences (FHS) in the American University of Beirut (AUB) held a one-day workshop entitled “Road to Waste-free Schools."
Around 60 school representatives gathered on Tuesday, November 27, 2018 to learn more about solid waste issues in schools and walk through the steps to becoming waste-free schools. The workshop underscored the imperative responsibility of schools to shape the behavior of young people and establish healthy living habits towards a more sustainable future.
Spotting the light on the threats to public health and the negative implications on the environment, economy and society from the mismanagement of solid waste, Dr. May Massoud, Associate Professor at the Environmental Health Department, considered that learning how to handle waste as a resource, schools have an opportunity to positively influence the community and help create a future with informed and active citizens. Additionally, students will learn to value the natural world and understand the interactions between humans and the environment.
During the workshop, members of the schools network discussed and identified the measures to reduce and divert resources from the solid waste stream. Dr. Massoud, stated: “to develop a sustainable program it is essential to engage educators, parents, staff and most importantly students!"
“Taking steps to reduce school waste can make a huge difference!"
Transforming environmental knowledge into practice is one of the most requisite behaviors to bring out considerable change to the way waste is managed. Up until today, Lebanon's solid waste management structure has been in a perpetual state of emergency. It has suffered primarily from infrastructural and financial deficits as well as political intrusion. However, these problems are exacerbated by Lebanon's relatively high population density and ever-increasing waste generation rates.
This workshop represents a milestone in a series of activities that are planned to take place under the framework of the “School Network for a Healthy Environment" initiative. This initiative led by the department of Environmental Health FHS at AUB was launched in 23 November, 2017. In collaboration with more than 40 Lebanese schools, this Network aims to encourage youth to engage in environmental conservation and to appreciate the importance of the environmental health field to achieve sustainable development, while also integrate state-of-art environmental practices in formal school settings
As part of its mission, the Environmental Health Department aims to create and contribute to a healthier environment by addressing critical issues that are a threat to the health of current and future generations. This role is concretely put into practice through outreach and advocacy initiatives such as the School Network for a Healthy Environment.