An eight-year-old student at Sunny View School in Torremolinos has seen an idea she proposed to benefit the environment transform into a school policy change.
Martina Ruiz Quesada and her Year 3 classmates had been learning about pollution and the devastating impact of plastic in the oceans. On average, the school used around 13,000 plastic water bottles each year, so their teacher asked them to submit ideas for reducing the use of plastic.
Martina had observed that during lunch in the school cafeteria water was served to the children from 1.5-litre single-use plastic water bottles. Martina proposed switching to paper-based cartons of water rather than plastic bottles, while also suggesting the implementation of reusable water jugs for serving.
She had seen water sold in paper-based cartons and even brought one in to show her teacher and classmates. Paper-based cartons are 100 per cent recyclable and the materials and processes result in around 70 per cent less harmful emissions compared to single-use plastic bottles.
Martina said she was "surprised and excited" when she saw that her idea had become a reality.
"I didn't think they were going to do it. I felt really good because I don't want the fish in the ocean to get poisoned from pollution," the caring youngster explained.
Sunny View School co-owner John Pettis said, "Environmental education is imperative. Children understand that they don't need to be told by adults to get involved because they have the most to lose. At Sunny View School we believe it is important that we listen to, encourage, support and implement their ideas."