Tag Archives: Recycling

DHEC in the News: Opioids, abandoned tires, flood-prone homes

Here’s a look at health and environmental news from around South Carolina.

Fighting Opioid overdoses on the front lines

Nearly 100 people a day are dying from opioid overdoses, it’s part of a growing issue that South Carolina is not immune to.

In the past 3 years, opioid related deaths have risen 18%. That crisis is causing police officers to equip departments with a overdose reversal drug known as Narcan.

South Carolina Health Officials Propose Fines Over Old Tires

CHARLESTON, S.C. (AP) — Health officials in South Carolina are proposing fines for a recycling company because of abandoned tires that serve as a mosquito breeding ground.

The Department of Health and Environmental Control has proposed more than $1 million in civil penalties against the 21-acre (8.5-hectare) Viva Recycling operation in Berkeley County, The Post and Courier of Charleston reported.

Health officials say the company has more than 200,000 abandoned tires in Berkeley County. DHEC says the company has not paid the $1.65 million in fines yet.

General Interest

‘A huge shift in our mindset’ – Charleston looks at how best to treat flood-prone homes

In a move that one Charleston preservation leader called “a sea change,” the city will be more receptive than ever to property owners’ requests to elevate their homes or other buildings, even along its most historic streets.

The city held a day-long workshop Friday to discuss design solutions that would allow historic buildings to be elevated while minimizing disruption to the city’s ambiance, one that has given the city a national reputation and fueled its multimillion-dollar tourist economy.

The workshop came several weeks after Tropical Storm Irma flooded dozens of historic homes downtown, many for the third time in as many years.

Champions of the Environment: Northwest Middle School

We live in a society that is focused on growth and development. As we continue to do this, we must encourage our children to protect the beauty of their communities. Northwest Middle School is located along side the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains in Greenville County. Our goal was to get our students to encourage beauty while protecting the many species of birds in our area and protecting their homes.

As a school we recognize that we are lucky to live in a beautiful part of Greenville County. We know that as populations grow so too does the amount of waste products. As part of the grant, we were able to enhance a basic recycling program from just paper to now including plastic, glass, and cardboard. Our students are recycling hundreds of pounds of waste each year that won’t end of up in landfills or on the side of the road. Our major goal of the grant was to provide beautiful bird houses around our campus. We now have installed 16 birdhouses for various types of birds in our area. We can bird watch and identify different species living in our houses. Students constructed and installed the birdhouses. They made signs for each birdhouse with information about native South Carolina birds.

The best part of this project was that it helped the entire school get involved. Some of our students built the houses while others painted and stained them while others worked on the signs for them. It truly became a school wide project. The houses were installed by parents and community members. In the spring we have been able to see many birds taking advantage of these new houses. Students get to enjoy seeing them fly around our campus and enjoy these houses. Parents and visitors are enjoying seeing the great work of the students and the beautiful birds.

These projects will be long lasting. The bird houses will continue to provide beauty to our campus while the recycling program will benefit our environment as we continue to support recycling efforts. Our students are learning more each day about protecting the environment for all people and creatures as part of their science classes and by watching the great things happening on our campus.

Champions of the Environment: Carolina Springs Middle School Beautification Collaboration

by
Susanna Mayrides
Carolina Springs Middle School

This is the second of a series of blog posts recognizing winners of the 2016 Champions of the Environment awards.

One of the greatest motivations of caring for our planet is that future generations can enjoy nature, its cycles, and its biodiversity, among other things and environmental education is the greatest tool for this purpose, especially in times when climate change is jeopardizing the balance of the environment. Environmental education, in addition to generating awareness and solutions relevant to current environmental problems caused by human activities and the effects of the relationship between man and the environment, is a pedagogical mechanism that also infuses the interaction that exists within ecosystems.

At Carolina Springs Middle School, we continually search for ways to add authentic assessments to our students’ learning experiences, and we feel this is a perfect opportunity to develop in this area. We would like to make the garden a focal point of our Annual World Language Night, which we celebrate during the spring.  The vision is to have students make presentations to their parents in the target language that evening.

Some of the key lessons my students gained from the project include:

  • Engage STEM students and their parents in constructing a water-efficient handicap accessible raised vegetable garden.
  • Create a student-led collaboration between World Language Students, Special Education Students, and the students elected to the Student Government Association.
  • Teach students the importance of recycling and the prevention and reduction of air, water, and land pollution.
  • Teach the students the importance of a global conversation about land, water and air quality providing instruction in at least two target languages.
  • Teach the reproducible skills embedded in learning how to grow plants and herbs.

The best part of this project is that it involves parents of our students and gives them an opportunity to work alongside their children. On the other hand, the most challenging part of the project has been coordinating all the involved parties.

I think the project will have lasting impacts on the students. We can accomplish our short-term goals within the school year, and the long-term goals will encourage the students to work together even as they move up to our local high schools. They can instruct and help our students keep the garden during the summer and winter breaks so we can continue working on the project year after year without starting from zero every time.

My advice for a teacher or class wanting to start their own environmental education project would be to share, share, share! The main characteristic of this project is to transfer knowledge and techniques to the participants, so that they can apply them in the future without having to look for the teacher regularly. We want the teacher to become the facilitator and the student to take charge of the project. Teaching/Training is not a single direction, but a process of mutual learning and feedback, because nobody knows everything, but we all know something, and together we know a lot. It is important that we as facilitators have an open and tolerant attitude and that we are aware of the context in which we move.

This Week at DHEC

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National Wear Red Day

 

 

A roundup of some of the ways we’re working for Healthy People and Healthy Communities.

Plantation Pipe Line Lewis Drive Release

In partnership with Anderson County, we held a public meeting on January 31 to hear comments and answer questions about the Plantation Pipe Line Lewis Drive Release.

Anderson County residents packed into a school cafeteria Tuesday to complain about Kinder Morgan’s cleanup efforts at its Belton gas spill site.

Representatives of the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control spent more than two hours at Cedar Grove Elementary School near Williamston. The officials gave updates, answered questions and heard complaints from Cheddar and Broadway Lake residents at the first such public meeting since the December 2014 spill.

We post regular updates about this issue here.

National Birth Defects Prevention Month

Maternal and Child Health Planning and Evaluation Program Manager Vinita Oberoi Leedom share ways to improve your chances of a healthy baby.

 

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Monarch Elementary School 5th Grade Students

Good News

 

The 12 Days of Reducing, Reusing and Recycling

As wonderful as the holidays can be, they also are a time when we tend to generate tons of waste, including uneaten food, shopping bags, packaging, wrapping paper, boxes — and much more.

Here are 12 recycling and waste reduction tips we hope you put to use this holiday season.

  1. Keep a waste free kitchen by taking a look around to determine what you already have on hand before going shopping. Make a list of things you need before heading to the store. Compost or donate your unwanted food and recyclablesrecycle your cooking oil. Find other helpful tips at dhec.sc.gov/dontwastefoodsc.
  2. Have hard-to-recycle items? Consider only buying materials packaged in what can be recycled in your area. Find where and what you can recycle at www.scdhec.gov/HomeAndEnvironment/Recycling.
  3. Give waste-less gifts like your time to clean someone’s house, piano or guitar lessons, gym memberships or certificates for pampering.newspaperwrap
  4. Most wrapping paper cannot be recycled, BUT you can reuse something to wrap with instead like paper bags, newspaper, maps or use reusable grocery bags, scarves or flower pots. Also reuse greeting cards to make gift tags.
  5. Stop the unwanted mail! Check out ecocycle.org/junkmail for 6 easy steps. Make sure to recycle mail with your paper as well.
  6. Prevent food waste this holiday by providing reusable containers or asking your guests to bring their own for leftovers.ledlights
  7. Use LED lights, which last 10 times longer and use 80 percent less energy. Recycle your old strings lights, find more information on hard-to-recycle items at scdhec.gov/HomeAndEnvironment/Recycling/WhatCanIRecycle/.
  8. Go with an eco-deco theme by decorating with natural materials like greenery, gourds, fresh fruit and pine cones – all which can be composted after the holidays.
  9. Set up a collection corner at your party by providing an area where guests can bring unwanted items to swap or donate.
  10. Always let your guests know what can be recycled and composted. Clearly mark your bins and let guests know where they’re located.
  11. Provide a green dining experience by using dishes and silverware instead of disposables. If you need more dishes for guests, shop thrift stores to find festive ones.christmastree
  12. Grind those greens. If you decorated a real tree and are ready for it to go, remember to find out where your county will be accepting them for grinding.

For more tips and information on recycling and waste reduction, visit the DHEC website.