In Italy and throughout Europe, incineration has been the leading approach to waste management. Consumerism and production has accelerated this trend, rapidly filling landfills and creating a bigger demand for incinerators.
In 1994, construction plans for an incinerator were proposed in a small town in Tuscany. Yet residents were not informed about the impact of the incinerator. Every year, incinerators remove thousands of tons of material from the recycling stream and burn them, releasing greenhouse gases into the atmosphere and leaving behind toxics that endanger the health of nearby residents.
A teacher at an elementary school not two miles from the proposed incinerator, Rossano Ercolini had heard of cities like San Francisco that were successfully working to eliminate waste. He taught his students to recycle paper and replaced plastic water bottles and plastic utensils in the school lunchroom with pitchers, glasses and silverware.
When Ercolini heard about construction plans for the incinerator, he became concerned about the local residents’ health. He saw his responsibility as an educator to protect students’ well-being and inform the broader community about the incinerator’s risks as well as solutions to sustainably manage the town’s garbage.
What role does the school in raising awareness of environmental issues?