MCPS pushes for new conservation efforts

February 26, 2020

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Photo by Irene Kim

A SERT poster next to an RM water fountain encourages students to maintain green habits.

MCPS has been working to bolster environmental conservation programs over the past few years. Some of these changes include reusable water bottle filling stations and the School Energy and Recycling Team (SERT) program. 

According to Bethesda Magazine, MCPS spent $415,000 on three million single-use plastic water bottles in the 2018-19 school year. Now, they are planning to spend even more to put at least one water-bottle fill station in every school. According to superintendent Jack Smith, installing two water bottle fill stations at each school in the county would cost $1.2 million.

In early December, the Board of Education requested for $200,000 from the Montgomery City Council to put water-bottle fill stations in schools that don’t have them yet, according to Bethesda Magazine.

RM installed these bottle-filling stations in 2016. However, since then, some students have noticed that these fill stations’ filters might not be regularly replaced. “I find them very helpful, however, there is a light that indicates what the filter status is on all of them,” freshman Jonathan Haddock said.“Usually the filter light is red, dictating that it is dirty and unusable. It has not changed for a very long time.” 

In addition to the water-bottle refilling stations, MCPS also runs the recycling program SERT, which promotes conservation through contests, activities and educational resources. SERT provides detailed explanations for what can and can’t be recycled through various forms of media. 

SERT also teaches students to conserve energy through instructions and every day habits.

Despite this, many students remain unaware of SERT’s efforts. “Although I have heard of SERT, I don’t really know of any opportunities SERT provides or  any media they have sent out,” junior Namya Nanda said.

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