Illawarra Sports High School has partnered with a sister school in Bali to combat plastic waste, one drink bottle at a time.
The school is one of the first to join the Bottle for Botol Program, which links schools in Australia and Bali to work on sustainability programs.
Indonesian-language teacher Jenny Jurman-Hilton was attracted to the program after seeing environmental damage during her trips to Indonesia.
‘‘I was looking for a program that would help us partner a school in Bali and which had an environmental edge – we want to reduce the plastic footprint in both of the schools,’’ she said.
The program was founded by ex AusAid volunteers who drew a link between clean drinking water only being provided in single-use plastic cups and the amount of plastic debris clogging Bali’s beaches.
Under the program, students from both countries design a logo for a metal water bottle while students at Illawarra Sports High market and sell the bottles.
For every bottle sold, one bottle is donated to students at SMA 3 Denpasar high school, which now has filtered water dispensers to provide a cheaper and more sustainable source of clean drinking water.
Bottle for Botol co-founder Chris Kemp set up the program after witnessing Indonesian teachers running similar but unfunded environmental protection programs.
‘‘I was working on a community radio project while our other co-founder, a marine scientist, was working with an inspirational teacher who had a 300-member environment club,’’ he said.
‘‘While single-use aqua cups are a clean, easy supply of water, they don’t have the waste facilities to deal with these, so they end up in the ocean and [on] the beach.’’
So far the program has been a success, with 16 Indonesian schools joined to Australian counterparts.
The first school sold more than 800 bottles.
Ms Jurman-Hilton said programs like these were more relevant then ever, given recent tensions between the two countries due to the impending executions of two Australian citizens.
‘‘We really need this at the moment. Programs like this can strengthen relationships at a friendship level between kids,’’ she said.