28. February 2018 Mariana Scholzová

February 2018

Edinburgh is beginning to feel like “home”. At the Prague airport, I am thinking, “I am going home”. When we all met at our flat, we were excited about our two new flat mates from Argentina, who have come to spend their second semester at Edinburgh University. Everything is returning to normal. The arguments about the (un)washed dishes in the sink and the pizza boxes piling up next to the bins are the center of the heated debate. We talk about our new timetables and about the fact that our results have still not been released, even though we sat our exams almost a month ago.

During my first months at the university, I focused mainly on my studies. After coming back from the Christmas holidays, I decided to use all the opportunities provided both by the university and the city itself.  I finally visited all the tourist attractions, took photos and sent postcards to all my relatives. I joined Sustainable Development student society, became a class representative for two courses, founded a group against plastic pollution and started rock climbing.

The broadcasting of the Blue Planet II documentary created a platform for a debate surrounding the single use plastic pollution. This generated a huge momentum for groups, which have been pointing to this issue for years. One of these groups is Plastic Free Scotland, which I joined. I started a local group Plastic Free Edinburgh in collaboration with the group.  We educate people about the risks and impacts of plastic pollution, write emails and create pressure on supermarket chains to take the responsibility for the waste they create, and establish a dialogue with local administration. We are succeeding in creating a conversation with respective representatives in companies such as Tesco or Sainsbury’s, which play a significant role in this issue.

I am happy to see our team is growing with smart, determined and active people, who decided to spend their free time by organizing events and writing statements. These people come home after a full day of work or school, sit down and begin working on the campaign. They spend their weekends handing out leaflets and talking to people. And I am boundlessly grateful for all their work.

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