By Kyra Gillespie
Inspired by the recent War On Waste documentary on the ABC, Year 7 Pakenham Secondary College student Tamika has written to the Prime Minister ap-peel-ing for answers.
Of particular concern was the waste of perfectly good food such as bananas – a staple in her family.
The documentary reveals that bananas, among other produce found at the supermarket, must be a consistent size. Anything beyond the strict specifications supermarkets impose on growers is sent to landfill.
When 13-year-old Tamika watched the documentary in science class, she decided to act.
“It made me upset and made me want to do something about it.
“So I decided to send an email to the Prime Minister,” Tamika said.
In her thoughtfully crafted email, Tamika outlined the banana problem to the PM.
“I find it shocking that 40 per cent of the bananas grown in Queensland are wasted.
“I know you are busy but if you could try your best to change the supermarkets allowing bananas of all shapes and sizes go for sale that will make me really happy,” Tamika wrote.
To the shock and amazement of Tamika and the school, Mr Turnbull actually responded.
“Thank you for writing to me. I always enjoy hearing about what is important to young Australians like you,” Mr Turnbull wrote.
But Tamika was not satisfied with the PM’s response, and is determined to press the issue.
Coming from a large family, Tamika knows that food is precious and shouldn’t be wasted.
“I come from a family of seven, so food is very valuable in our household – especially bananas.
We are conscious of how much we waste, and at the end of each week we make sure we sort all our rubbish into the right bins, whether it is rubbish, recycling or compost.”
Since watching the documentary at school, Tamika is more informed about the impact of personal waste on the wider community.
“There’s more to what we eat than what we see.
“People don’t realise it, but our rubbish and our waste affects the whole community. It’s really important to put the right rubbish in the right bins, because it affects everyone,” Tamika said.
Pakenham Secondary College Principal Ray Squires is proud of his students efforts.
“This would definitely be the first time I’ve ever had a student actually contact the Prime Minister. I think it’s fantastic,” Mr Squires said.
He also hopes that Tamika’s initiative will encourage other students to take their passions and interests to the next level.
Tamika says she already has a lot of kids at school and on social media who have heard about her email and have shown their support for the cause.
She hopes to propose some solutions to the Prime Minister in her next email, one of which is to change the shape of packing boxes so that bananas of all shapes and sizes can fit.
“It’s more appealing seeing bananas that look different, I think it makes people want to buy them if they look bigger and more filling.”
“We should be saving food, not wasting food.”