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Article

Is Awareness on Plastic Pollution Being Raised in Schools? Understanding Perceptions of Primary and Secondary School Educators

1
Department of Geography, University of South Africa, Johannesburg 1709, South Africa
2
GEOMAR, Helmholtz-Zentrum für Ozeanforschung Kiel, 24105 Kiel, Germany
3
Aquatic Systems Research Group, Department of Ecology and Resource Management, University of Venda, Thohoyandou 0950, South Africa
4
Centre for Biological Control, Department of Zoology and Entomology, Rhodes University, Makhanda 6140, South Africa
5
Centre for Complex Systems in Transition, Stellenbosch University, Stellenbosch 7600, South Africa
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Sustainability Research Unit, Nelson Mandela University, George Campus, George 6035, South Africa
7
Stellenbosch Institute for Advanced Study, Stellenbosch 7600, South Africa
*
Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Sustainability 2020, 12(17), 6775; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12176775
Received: 8 June 2020 / Revised: 13 July 2020 / Accepted: 20 July 2020 / Published: 21 August 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Environmental Education for Sustainability)
Plastic pollution is a major global issue and its impacts on ecosystems and socioeconomic sectors lack comprehensive understanding. The integration of plastics issues into the educational system of both primary and secondary schools has often been overlooked, especially in Africa, presenting a major challenge to environmental awareness. Owing to the importance of early age awareness, this study aims to investigate whether plastic pollution issues are being integrated into South African primary and secondary education school curriculums. Using face-to-face interviews with senior educators, we address this research problem by investigating (i) the extent to which teachers cover components of plastic pollution, and (ii) educator understandings of plastic pollution within terrestrial and aquatic environments. The results indicate that plastic pollution has been integrated into the school curriculum in technology, natural science, geography, life science, life skills and life orientation subjects. However, there was a lack of integration of management practices for plastics littering, especially in secondary schools, and understanding of dangers among different habitat types. This highlights the need for better educational awareness on the plastic pollution problem at both primary and secondary school level, with increased environmental programs needed to educate schools on management practices and impacts. View Full-Text
Keywords: awareness; environmental education; environmental policy; plastic pollution; stakeholder partnerships; South Africa; primary school awareness; environmental education; environmental policy; plastic pollution; stakeholder partnerships; South Africa; primary school
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MDPI and ACS Style

Dalu, M.T.B.; Cuthbert, R.N.; Muhali, H.; Chari, L.D.; Manyani, A.; Masunungure, C.; Dalu, T. Is Awareness on Plastic Pollution Being Raised in Schools? Understanding Perceptions of Primary and Secondary School Educators. Sustainability 2020, 12, 6775. https://doi.org/10.3390/su12176775

AMA Style

Dalu MTB, Cuthbert RN, Muhali H, Chari LD, Manyani A, Masunungure C, Dalu T. Is Awareness on Plastic Pollution Being Raised in Schools? Understanding Perceptions of Primary and Secondary School Educators. Sustainability. 2020; 12(17):6775. https://doi.org/10.3390/su12176775

Chicago/Turabian Style

Dalu, Mwazvita T. B., Ross N. Cuthbert, Hulisani Muhali, Lenin D. Chari, Amanda Manyani, Current Masunungure, and Tatenda Dalu. 2020. "Is Awareness on Plastic Pollution Being Raised in Schools? Understanding Perceptions of Primary and Secondary School Educators" Sustainability 12, no. 17: 6775. https://doi.org/10.3390/su12176775

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