Qibao Foreign Language Primary School
This school is found near the banks of the Puhuitang river in the ancient town of Qibao, this river flows through Shanghai and is a tributary of the famous Huangpu – the last major tributary of the Yangtze before it enters the East China Sea. During the Ming Dynasty over a thousand vessels would navigate the river each day, connecting the town with the outside world. Throughout the 1980’s many of the surrounding factories and industrial plants dumped much of their waste into the Puhuitang River. The river, once filled with fish and shrimp is now overrun with algae. However, in a collaboration between the community and the Waterschool China programme, a restoration process has begun and the Puhuitang has since been cleaned and the water quality significantly improved.
Since joining the Waterschool China programme in 2008, a special water education activity room has been set up in the school and is used for various activities within the “Loving my Qibao Town, Protecting my Hometown River” project. Each week teachers and students come together to study and research a specific topic related to water education, the school has drawn up it’s own programme that consists of three phases:
The first step concentrates on water understanding; the students participate in research activities focused on their local Puhuitang River. As well as observing the environmental water situation the students learn about the cultural and historical background of the Puhuitang.
The second phase focuses on water protection. Based on their enhanced environmental knowledge and water awareness, are encouraged to develop their own innovative ways to protect water resources. Dai Yilin, a third grade student, expressed a serious concern to his mother one day; “each time we shower we let the faucet run for a long time before the hot water comes out; it’s too much of a waste to let the cold water directly drain away. Instead, we should save that water in a bucket and make use of it when we mop the floor or do our laundry.” His mother shared with the school his idea, and cannot help but feel proud of her son’s dedication to water conservation.
The third step of the programme involves the students sharing what they have learned about water to their families and the wider community. In this way the Waterschool message of water protection is further disseminated and its influence even greater. For example, one of the students, Gu Luyao, contacted the Water Supply Department in order to collaborate with them in cleaning an area of the river near her home that was filled up with debris and garbage. “It’s so dirty, next time I would like to organize all the students of all the classes to work together and help,” Gu Luyao remarked whilst gathering up plastic bags from the riverbanks.