Waste generated by the COVID 19 pandemic

SCP leader:                          Ms Antonella Vassallo

Participating school:      Gozo College, Secondary School

Students’ Age:                    14-16years

Project time frame:          Project Year 1

  • Research question: What was the research question? What are the underlying regional problems?
  1. What are the positive and negative aspects of the Covid-19 lockdown?
  2. How much waste is generated per household due to disposable items for protection against the pandemic?
  3. How can this waste be reduced without neglecting health warnings?
  • Approach: How did you proceed?

The school decided to focus on this project after a quick survey among students and their families about the use of disposable waste (i.e. disposable masks, sanitizers, disposable gloves and alcohol wipes) accumulating in the school and at home. One effective way of reducing disposable masks was that of proposing the use of reusable masks.

The students came up with the idea of producing a reusable mask to be distributed among students attending school to encourage less use of disposables. They organized a whole-school competition to sensitize more students about the campaign. Students were asked to design a logo that would be eventually printed on the masks.

Students also designed a poster to create awareness about the repercussions of disposable masks and gloves when dispersed in the natural environment. The poster was discussed by the students with each year group and eventually displayed on the school premises. A soft copy was sent via e-mail to parents and other Gozo College schools to create more awareness. Students continued to promote further awareness about the proper disposal of waste among staff, students and janitors.

Students also worked on creating a video that outlined the positive and negative impacts of the pandemic on the environment. The video was made available on the school website, the school social media and disseminated through emails to parents and other Gozo College schools.

  • Solution: What are your findings?

Students found a very high level of usage of disposable products and that individuals were not always aware of viable alternatives.

The pandemic lockdown reduced human impact on the surroundings and allowed access of wildlife to urban areas.

  • Recommendation: What solutions have you developed for the regional problem(s)?

Students aimed to sensitize citizens on the need to replace disposable masks with reusable ones.

  • Dissemination: How did you promote your recommendations?

The materials developed during the project were widely disseminated primarily through the students’ families and the use of social media.

  • Photos

(a) Poster designed by students to create awareness about the repercussions of disposable masks and gloves when dispersed in the natural environment.

(b) Student wearing the mask with the logo designed by himself and chosen as the winning entry.