On 5 June 2018, the British Council celebrated the World Environment Day by arranging all-day activities at the British Council office in Fuller Road, Dhaka University campus. Every year, the UN encourages awareness and action to protect the environment. This year, the global theme is “Beat Plastic Pollution. If you can’t reuse it, refuse it.” On the World Environment Day, the staff members conducted campaigns, both online and offline, to raise awareness among the staffs, visitors, students and parents.
The British Council has always taken environmental hazards seriously and has embraced the theme of eradicating plastic pollution in its full operations early in the year. There has been a significant reduction of single-use plastic around the offices. We no longer distribute plastic folders to examination candidates or use plastic water bottles and cups around the offices. As an alternative, all staff members use glass or reusable utensils for their food and beverages. The public cafeteria inside the British Council premises do not provide plastic straws and serves the staff members their drinks in glass or ceramic mugs. These are small and affordable steps that anyone can take to reduce their annual contribution to plastic waste. The British Council simply aims to inform the people how easy it all really is.
The Teaching Centre made the World Environment Day the central theme of the classes. Teachers and students discussed the principles and practices of sustaining a healthy environment. Students were assigned prior projects on the theme, and they prepared colourful posters based on World Environment Day. Subsequently, their works were displayed in the Cultural Centre’s Library space for all walk-in customers to see.
The British Council staff members periodically visited the front office and held a verbal awareness campaign by conversing with walk-in customers and library members about the theme of the day. In the campaigns, they had also highlighted the British Council’s position to beat plastic pollution. To stress the importance of protecting the environment wide and far among its network, the British Council also ran Facebook and Twitter campaigns online, trending the global hashtag #BeatPlasticPollution.
The British Council also organised an open quiz contest for building awareness on protecting the environment among the walk-in visitors, students and parents. The quiz was an interactive way to identify alternate use of plastic in our everyday lives, and to minimise plastic waste. An auditorium full of contestants took part in the quiz, among which three participants scored in full and were announced as winners. Barbara Wickham, Director Bangladesh, British Council distributed prizes to the winners.