Photo Courtesy of Sneha Nangunoori '23
World Cleanup day, an initiative sponsored by Westwood Student Council (StuCo), took place virtually from Tuesday, Sept. 15 to Friday, Sept. 18. Students were encouraged to spend time clearing litter in their communities and then email a photo of the cleanup process to the StuCo email account.
“Let’s be mindful of our planet and heighten our environmental consciousness,” StuCo said in an email announcing the event.
Anuja Uppuluri ‘21, the head of the StuCo Energy and Environment (EE) committee, organized the World Cleanup Day project. The event was forced to adapt from what would have been a collaborative process, in order to preserve safety in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Although this event is meant to be done with a group of people working together to further promote a sense of community, this year, in order to maintain safe distancing procedures, participants individually cleaned their communities of waste and sent us photos of themselves in action,” Uppuluri said.
Even though World Cleanup Day might have looked different this year, StuCo felt that the initiative was just as important as ever, especially as climate change continues to drastically worsen.
“Understanding the magnitude of danger Earth’s climate threshold is in is crucial to changing our everyday behaviors and becoming more aware of the consequences of our actions,” Uppuluri said. “[I organized World Cleanup Day to] Inform our students and staff of the global waste crisis and the negative effects of accumulated landfill waste.”
And while World Cleanup Day may have just focused on reducing waste in our local communities, StuCo believes that the problem is far more damaging and widespread than litter on the sidewalks.
“Annually, the millions of tons of unaccounted waste throughout the world account for the creation of thousands of landfills which are burned as a commercial form of maintenance- the burning results in the accumulation of ozone holes in our atmosphere, an increase in our global surface temperature, and an increased amount of carcinogens in our air,” Uppuluri said.
To continue the EE committee’s goal of promoting the importance of making ecological decisions, the committee is planning future environmentally conscious projects. There will be two regular events each month, and an upcoming virtual presentation on plant-based diets, where participants can cook together. To learn more about the EE committee and view upcoming events, visit https://sites.google.com/roundrockisd.org/westwoodstuco/committees/energy-and-environment.