PASIR GUDANG: Fourteen teachers from 13 schools hit by the environmental crisis here in March are behind a pilot project to focus on environmental education.
Mooted in April, Project Kim Kim is being championed by teachers under the Teach for Malaysia (TFM) programme.
Leading the team is Nur Aisyah Md Ajib, 32, of SMK Taman Scientex, who started teaching there about a year and a half ago under TFM.
She said Project Kim Kim was aimed at enhancing environmental awareness among students.
Nur Aisyah said a report published by foreign media during the Sungai Kim Kim pollution crisis in March stated that Malaysians did not care much about the environment.
“That prompted us to find out whether Malaysians actually did care.
“We conducted a survey on 340 teachers and students from the 13 schools affected,” she said.
Nur Aisyah said the survey showed that Pasir Gudang folk did care for the environment, but the extent of their understanding of environmental issues revealed “an obvious gap”.
“We wanted to help people become more aware of environmental issues and help with efforts to safeguard the environment.
“We realised that the best way to do this was to improve environmental education to ensure that students understand the root causes that contribute to the complex environmental problems here,” she said.
She added that good environmental education should not be limited to students in private schools and urban areas.
Nur Aisyah, who worked as an architect for 11 years, said Project Kim Kim would not resolve environmental challenges, but “it will start something”.
“Instead of just talking and waiting for the government to do something, it is important for the people on the ground to turn words into action,” she added.
Another TFM teacher, 25-year-old Emily Neoh of SMK Kota Masai, said she hoped that the project would eventually reach out to adults.
“When we were hit by the crisis, everyone was talking about it.
“Not long after, things died down until we were affected by the latest incident,” she said, adding that efforts to address environmental challenges should be continuous.
Neoh said they were in the final stages of fine-tuning their proposals for the project before approval was sought from the Pasir Gudang district education department to run the pilot project.