2019 Pulau Semakau Landfill Learning Journey

Pulau Semakau Landfill – What is it?

Located about 8 kilometers south of Singapore, Pulau Semakau is Singapore’s only landfill, as of the present, that began operating on 1 April 2019. It has a perimeter of 7 kilometers and was build to contain non-incinerable waste and the ash produced by incineration plants.

Initially, the landfill was expected to last till 2045, but due to an unexpected growth in the rate of production of solid waste, it is currently estimated that it will only last till 2035. Bearing in mind that continuously building landfills is neither a viable nor sustainable option, the issue of waste management in Singapore has become a particularly important one to address.  In order to do this, many efforts have been made, including the implementation of specific measures at Pulau Semakau Landfill itself. In order to learn more about these measures, a group of Greenlink members went on a Learning Journey to the island.


Benefits from the Learning Journey

Our Greenlink members were taken on a guided bus tour around Pulau Semakau and got to see how waste was being treated, finding out many interesting facts about the landfill in the process.

One of the most surprising things was that despite it’s identity being that of a landfill, most parts of the island were surprisingly clean and scenic. This is in large part due to the fact that the waste was not randomly dumped , but instead unloaded into landfill cells, where they would be leveled and compacted before being covered with a layer of earth. Flora would then take root and form a green landscape, resulting in the appearance of the island being as such.

One other interesting thing we learnt about is the great length to which the management have gone to ensure that the landfill makes minimal impact on the environment. One of the measures taken in this aspect is the lining of the perimeter of the island with an impermeable membrane and a layer of marine clay, ensuring that any pollution will remain within the landfill, among many others.

It is due to this that Pulau Semakau has a vibrant ecosystem, with marine life such as crabs, starfish, sea otters, tortoises and corals and also other wildlife – particularly birds! In fact, Pulau Semakau is one of the best places to bird watch in Singapore.

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Check out this bird that we managed to spot! Can you identify what it is?


Final Thoughts

The Pulau Semakau Learning Journey was interesting and enjoyable, but simultaneously insightful and educational. Our Greenlink members benefited greatly from this learning journey and strongly encourage everyone to visit should they have the chance to.

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We would like to thank Tiong Bahru YEC for organising this outing and for giving us the opportunity to take part, and we do hope that all of the other participants had fun as well!

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2019 NJC e-Recycling Initiative

This May, NJC started our very first e-Recycling Initiative. Electronic waste contain a lot of harmful chemicals and carcinogenic substances. Improper disposal can lead to leak in lanfills and waterbodies.

This initiative aims to educate the NJ community on e-Recycling. There will be CCE talks and movie sessions held throughout the year, by Green Advocates of the various levels, so as to educate their cohort mates on why should they e-recycle, how to e-recycle and what to e-recycle. By educating students about e-recycling and raising awareness for this initiative, we hope that students will pick the option of e-recycling over disposing such electronic waste in normal trash bins.

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Besides CCE talks and movie sessions, our JH4 GAs have also planned a series of activities in order to educate our student community in NJ. An-interclass poster-making competition will be held for all cohorts in Junior High. Students will be given the task to create a e-poster on e-recycling and students will be grouped into groups of 4-5. Each group has to produce 1 poster. The class chair will choose the best poster for submission. Besides the best poster being able to be rewarded with a prize, the other posters will also be uploaded on Greenlink Instagram, blog and many more platforms to educate people on the importance of eRecycling. 

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As Starhub RENEW is currently undergoing the restructuring of such an e-recycling system in Singapore, they are unable to provide our college with any e-recycling bins. Thus, we have contacted Nature Society of Nanyang Girls High to collaborate on this project. An eRecycling bin will be set up in our college and when it is full, we will send it over to Nanyang Girls High to drop it off in their RENEW bin. Thank you NYGH for lending us a helping hand 🙂

More details on e-recycling will be updated and posted in the later half of the year. Also stay tuned to find out more about NJ’s first e-recycling program!

 

2019 Earth Week BYO Programme

For this year’s Earth Week, Greenlink launched a Bring Your Own programme to encourage school staff and students to bring their own lunchboxes for takeaways, to reduce usage of single-use styrofoam and plastic takeaway containers.

To kick off this Bring-Your-Own initiative, our Greenlink members conducted CCE sessions to educate NJ students about how using such single-use takeaway containers bring about harmful effects on the environment.

 

Next, we gave out cards for students and staff to collect stamps whenever they refuse single-use takeaway containers so as to encourage them to bring their own Tupperware lunchboxes for takeaways!  bcb3a976-47b2-40a9-a9d1-3b5b9408ba96.JPG

c94c696d-5391-40e9-90ec-a40916ddf17c.JPGAt the end of the month, we also gave out WHEAT (not plastic!) cutlery sets to students and staff who collected 8 stamps on their cards. 🙂

We hope that by rolling out this initiative, NJ community can be more aware of the deleterious effects on our environment when using single-use takeaway containers and we hope that they would join us on our journey to greening NJC! 🙂

2019 Vermicomposting Workshop – GongShang Primary School

On 8 April 2019, 20 students from GongShang Primary School visited our school’s vermicomposting area as part of their enrichment learning journey. Our JH3 Greenlink members as well as JH1 Green Advocates very eagerly introduced to them what we do in our weekly routine. Students were given an activity booklet each to fill in as they headed to each learning station. 

The students participated in 3 learning stations:

  1. Blending the food preparation waste collected from the College’s canteen (ie. vegetable scraps etc.) for the worms
  2. Preparing the worm factory bedding layer for the worms
  3. Introducing the Malaysian Blue worms in the worm factory

After going through all 3 learning stations, students were given some time to fill in their activity booklets. The students could confidently complete majority of the activities in the activity booklet, showing that they had learnt a lot about vermicomposting. A mini “test-your-understanding” quiz was then conducted by our JH3 Greenlink member, Swapna Priya. During the quiz, the students were very enthusiastic in answering the questions. When asked how they would rate the session upon 10, with 10 being excellent and 1 being horrible, all of them shouted 10/10! 

In addition to the students who had an enjoyable and enriching time with our Greenlink members, the outreach was definitely a good learning opportunity for our JH3 Greenlink members to exercise their leadership.

We would like to thank GongShang Primary School for specially coming all the way down to our College to learn about our vermicomposting practices and we hope they will start their very own worm factories in time to come.

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2019 Growing Togetherness @ NJC -Vegetables Planting Competition

Last year, we launched the first run of Growing Togetherness@NJC and many have participated and gained more knowledge on gardening through this competition. Therefore, we have launched the second run of Growing Togetherness and this time, at a larger scale and with even more activities planned!

This year, over a 100 students and staff joined us on this Growing Togetherness journey! The aim of Growing Togetherness@NJC is to develop gardening interests in our school staff and students and allow them to bond through common interest, gardening. Therefore, we have set up WhatsApp chats and a GoogleClassroom platform for participants to discuss about gardening, share tips and encourage each other during this journey.

Various activities will also be launched along the way to help spice up this competition. Some of the activities include, pop quizzes (which tests and teaches participants various interesting facts of the edibles grown),  ePortfolio challenge (Students are required to submit a e-scrapbook made for their plant, which documents their plants’ milestones such as first leaf, first flower, etc. This encourages our participants to learn more about their plant and their plant’s growth and development can be documented.), photography challenge and many more! These activities are put in place to ensure that the participants can have fun and at the same time, they are able to learn and have takeaways from Growing Togetherness 2019.

Growing Togetherness 2019 will end in September and more information and pictures about this competition will be shared on this blog after it ends, so stay tuned! 🙂

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2019 NJC de-straw initiative #xSTRAWdinaryNJ

This year, our school kickstarted a de-straw initiative, xSTRAWdinaryNJ. We ordered metal straw sets and included them in the orientation packs for secondary 1 orientation 2019.

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After the metal straws sets were given out, we rolled out a straw-free orientation week.  During the week, secondary 1 students were strongly encouraged to go straw-free and their OGLs would help to supervise them too!

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After cultivating the good habit of not using plastic straws in our secondary 1 students, we went on to target the rest of our school population. After our new JC1 students joined us, we opened the preorder for metal straw sets and more than half the school population order straw sets.

To encourage more students to use metal straws, we have placed bottles of washing detergent specifically for the washing of metal straws at the washing areas in our canteen.

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Besides the sale of metal straws, NJ Greenlink also planned various activities and mini-quizzes to raise awareness. Posters with educational facts will also be posted on our instagram page to allow our students to be more aware of the negative effects of using single-use plastics.

#xSTRAWdinaryNJ

2019 Vermicomposting Sharing Session @Tiong Bahru CC

On 16 March 2019, our Greenlink students conducted a vermicomposting workshop at Tiong Bahru Community Club during their StoryAlive event!

We set up various mini-stations for the children to go to. The children played many mini-games and learnt a lot through playing! Activity booklets were also printed for the children and they were supposed to complete the activities (such as unscrambling words, etc) at the different stations. After completing the booklet, they can bring their booklets home and we hope that through this, they all have something to takeaway and they all can learn more about how vermicomposting works.

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3 stations were set up for the children during this workshop.

  1. BUTTERFLY STATION

The children were given hints and prompts to help match the caterpillars to the corresponding butterflies and their host plants! At this station, the children were also taught the various common species of caterpillars and butterflies and how to identify them!

 

2. VERMICOMPOSTING JIGSAW PUZZLE STATION

At this station, the children were to complete jigsaw puzzles which contained information on vermicomposting. After completing the jigsaw puzzles, the facilitators would then explain to them more about vermicomposting!

 

3. HANDS-ON VERMICOMPOSTING STATION

At the 3rd station, the children got to experience vermicomposting as they tried feeding the worms in the worm factories. The children loved the worms and learnt more about the benefits the worms bring as they can turn kitchen food waste into something useful (fertiliser)!

 

This event was definitely a success as we reached out to many children and parents on the benefits of vermicomposting. We hope that more people in the public can start their own DIY vermicomposting worm factories and turn food preparation waste from preparing their meals into fertilisers for their plants at home!

 

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