by R A Y C H E N
Unknown to many, one of our school’s janitors has resigned recently. Prior to her resignation, she spoke to Ms. Ruperez about her frustration about our students’ waste disposal habits. The janitor “couldn’t understand why certain students would unravel tissue rolls, only to leave them in the sink, or flush entire rolls of unused tissue.” Ms. Ruperez added that “while it is obvious that the janitors’ job to clean up after the students, there is a big difference between that and the feeling of entitlement to litter or dispose waste irresponsibly.” First, dumping an entire roll of unused tissues into the toilet or the sink is a huge waste of resources. Second, it is also incredibly inconsiderate to the people who have to clean up for us. As a school, we must improve the overall cleanliness of the campus. Below are possible methods you can take to help improve the sanitation of our school community.
On the issue of littering, besides the obvious solution of picking up after oneself and others, an alternative may be posting flyers with eyes on bathroom doors. Professor Melissa Bateson and Professor Daniel Nettle of the Centre for Behaviour and Evolution discovered that when people were handed leaflets printed with watching eyes, the odds of littering was reduced by around two thirds. Another solution include placing more trash cans around our school. In a study conducted by social psychologist Wesley Schultz, he “found that the distance to a trash receptacle was the strongest predictor of littering.” In other words, it means the farther trash cans are from students, the more they will litter. Thus, by placing trash cans in individual classrooms, it can significantly reduce littering in school.
Furthermore, students should be reminded that the school provided tissue paper do not dissolve in water. By disposing tissues into the toilet or the sink, it will clog the school’s sewage system. On a similar note, ill recycling practices should also be addressed by changing the lids on recycling bins. A 2008 study titled "It matters a hole lot” concluded that by using various lid shapes (such as 6-inch hole for recyclables, narrow slit for paper), correct recycling was increased by 34%. Improper recycling behavior in our school can be improved if traditional trash cans are replaced with bins with shaped lids corresponding to the prototype of the content.
The student body and the staff should commit to their responsibility in maintaining the cleanliness of our campus. With the methods proposed in mind, we can help improve the sanitation in our school.