Reflections about environmental impact

Plastic or reusable glass and bamboo items
Plastic or reusable glass and bamboo items
Inés is BOOKBRIDGE fellow at our learning centers in Cambodia. In her blog posts, she reflects on different aspects of our impact like the impact on the environment.

When I was preparing myself to come to Cambodia with my CAP team we were suggested to bring our own refillable bottles for drinking water. I usually travel with it, so I completely supported that idea. After spending some months in Cambodia I really think it should be a must to everybody but especially to every BOOKBRIDGE Family member travelling around.

For many CAP team members it was the first time in Asia and I don’t know if any of us asked to ourselves before travelling: What is it going to be the environmental impact of my visit to Cambodia?

Students of SmILe Academy participated in many ways in a plastic reduction project
Students of SmILe Academy participated in many ways in a plastic reduction project
I am sure that during module 4 of the program [on-site module] we brought some negative impact for the environment. More concretely, in relation to plastic pollution, we consumed single-use plastic items like straws, bags and some bottles but we also reduced the potential negative impact a lot because everybody brought their refillable bottles and used them almost all the time so we avoided using more than 500 plastic bottles.

When the module finished my CAP teammates turned back home but I stayed in Cambodia. I have been here for more than eight months now and I have kept wondering about my negative impact for the environment during all this time. I have seen how many Cambodians burn their trash because they don’t have or they don’t know any alternative. I wonder if all of them know how dangerous it can be for their health burning plastics or how can this affect the environment. I have also seen many plastics items hanging around both in cities and the countryside that may end up in our bodies following the food chain.

Probably most of you have seen photos of dead birds or fishes with their stomachs full of plastic, or photos of tons of plastics floating on the oceans and rivers or covering some fields or city streets. If in our countries there is a good recycling system we may think we are not part of this problem but I think we are both when we being at home and when travelling, so everyone should find her or his way to help with the solution.

With plastic straw or with bamboo straw
With plastic straw or with bamboo straw
As you may know during the last months many learning centers have participated in a BOOKBRIDGE-wide Project-Based Learning competition to find solutions for the following question: How can we encourage the people in our community to use less single-use plastic? For me it has been very inspiring to see how many children in the different learning centers where motivated to participate and started several campaigns offering a variety of solutions.

Don’t wait until it is too late, act now! What is it going to be your next step?

I would like to share some resources about Cambodia that may interest you:
Plastic Waste Never Dies (Video)
Clean Village, No Plastic Waste (Video)
Plastic Free Cambodia

One thought on “Reflections about environmental impact

  • Irene says:

    I think it is very good you stay there longer and investigate and think about the environmental impact and use Bookbridge LCs as a starting point for environmental education of youth. Way to go! Check out e.g. this initiative for support: https://slowmotionprojects.org
    Just to mention: By flying to Cambodia you also already have had a negative impact (less so if you compensated the CO2 via myclimate/southpole/etc). No judgement here, I did the same, but when thinking about environment, emissions from flying are a huge part and we should also think about how to improve our own way of travelling… Staying longer and travelling slow is a good start!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.