American Community School of Abu Dhabi |

Tackling the Plastic Plague

We are delighted to share a blog written by Hannah Watkins, a student at American Community School of Abu Dhabi, who is part of a team delivering a Global Goals project for the 2018-19 Global Goals Competition.

Their project ‘Tackling the Plastic Plague’ is among over 620 social action projects currently running as part of the GSL movement and we are excited to be supporting them to design and lead positive social change in their community. 

Every time I go to the supermarket, I see people walking out with bags on bags on bags of toxic single-use plastic grocery bags. Every witnessing of this makes me envision and cringe at the detriment this will serve to all life in water and on land. In the city of Abu Dhabi, these irresponsible plastic bag consumption behaviors have been ignored and continue to pollute the earth we live on.

We are trying to change this.

With my team, I am first targeting the behaviors of families within my school’s community, and then branching out to supermarkets to alter their policies on plastic bags. So far, we have organized an activity in Fall Festival – our school’s version of Halloween – in which we allowed kids to customize their own reusable bags and take it home. We worked with the Green Team at our school and had a joint booth that combined our two activities; they had a basketball game activity promoting recycling and we had our bag customization activity. Our booth was a big hit and we were able to promote recycling and the use of reusable bags in that same night. We have also conducted a larger project in which we collected all the plastic bags ACS families had in their homes over the course of a week, and hung them up over the entrance walkway for families to look at as they walked into the campus. This was effective in drawing the attention of people as they walked in, and making a statement regarding our over consumption of plastic.

Although this project is in its early stages, I have already learned one key lesson that will continue to propel me forward: people are willing to help if you ask. I started out my plastic bag collection initiative with high doubts that people would participate. At the end of it, however, we barely had any space left in our bins. If I use this new knowledge for my future endeavors, I am confident I will find myself successful. At this point, I am transitioning into an outreach to companies, and this lesson I have learned will arm me with the motivation and belief needed to make change at such a level.

I recommend everyone involved in this project to be different and push yourself despite the potential for rejection. Try to make change outside of your comfort zone. I started out really skeptical of the impact I would make at a corporate level, but the feedback I have gotten from GSL has pulled my goals into the realm of possibility and has encouraged me to move forward.

The 2018-19 GSL Global Goals Competition is now open and runs until June 2019. If you belong to one of the 700+ teams of students currently delivering a social action project as part of the competition we would love to hear from you and feature your blog and project photos on our website to inspire others.

Click here to submit a blog.