Worm tea, magic cleaners win schools top green award

National Junior College students (from left) Jacqueline Tan, 15 , Xie Wanxin, 15, and Vanessa Chan, 17, showing some of the worms used to turn food waste into liquid fertiliser, or "worm tea". The school's students also shared their knowledge of verm
National Junior College students (from left) Jacqueline Tan, 15 , Xie Wanxin, 15, and Vanessa Chan, 17, showing some of the worms used to turn food waste into liquid fertiliser, or "worm tea". The school's students also shared their knowledge of vermicomposting with residents of neighbouring Watten Estate.ST PHOTO: KELVIN CHNG

These were among efforts by seven schools to promote conservation and recycling

Students at the National Junior College have a creepy-crawly ambition - to have more people brew "worm tea".

Tucked in a corner of the school are "worm factories" where the creatures are grown and then mobilised to turn food waste into liquid fertiliser - worm tea - through a process called vermicomposting.

The factories are each about 1m tall, and hold three levels each of soil, coco peat and 300 to 400 worms.

Food waste like eggshells, vegetable scraps and coffee grounds are blended and dumped into the factories for the worms to consume and digest, which they complete in a week.

Water is poured into the factories at the end of every week, and the liquid that drains out is then used to fertilise the school's garden.

The students have also shared their knowledge with residents of nearby Watten Estate, by showing them how they can create their own worm factories.

"I felt a sense of accomplishment seeing the residents take the worm factories home to continue with their effort," said Secondary 3 student Xie Wanxin, 15.

"Some plants in our gardens flowered for the first time after we watered them with the fertiliser, or worm tea," she added.

TURNING IDEAS INTO ACTION

Through the process, our students gain a better understanding of Singapore's environmental landscape and contribute to the nation's vision of a sustainable and liveable Singapore.

MINISTER FOR EDUCATION (SCHOOLS) NG CHEE MENG, on why platforms like the Singapore Environment Council-StarHub School Green Awards are important.

For their efforts in promoting conservation and recycling, the students were recognised at the Singapore Environment Council-StarHub School Green Awards (SGA) held yesterday at ITE College East, along with six other schools.

The other schools are PCF Sparkletots Preschool @ Pioneer Block 661B, Xinghua Primary School, Anderson Secondary School, Ngee Ann Polytechnic, Tanglin Trust School and Minds Woodlands Gardens School. The seven schools received the Outstanding Environmental Outreach Project Award - the top award.

Xinghua Primary School's Green Club, for instance, started initiatives to reduce food waste. This includes turning the peels of citrus fruits into "magic cleaners" by putting them in a jar with vinegar and water.

"They are very good for cleaning glass and plastic. My parents use it to clean our table at home," said Primary 3 pupil Tan Hong Yi, nine.

Minister for Education (Schools) Ng Chee Meng, who was the guest of honour, said platforms like the the SGA are important in enabling young people to put their green ideas into action.

"Through the process, our students gain a better understanding of Singapore's environmental landscape and contribute to the nation's vision of a sustainable and liveable Singapore."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 09, 2017, with the headline 'Worm tea, magic cleaners win schools top green award'. Print Edition | Subscribe