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The Botswana International University of Science and Technology American Chemical Society (ACS) fraternity has recently held a Chemistry festival at Palapye community hall under the theme, ‘The role of Polymers in everyday life’. 

The event was held to sensitize secondary students, community leaders and members alike on the significance of chemistry and to show how science plays a vital role in our everyday lives as almost everything revolves around it.

Through the event, the BIUST Vice Chancellor, Professor Otlogetswe Totolo hosted stakeholders from various organizations such as the Topisi village chief, Mr Ezekiel Bontsi, the Chief Education Officer, Mrs Didimalang Mmemo, students and teachers from all secondary schools in Palapye amongst other dignitaries.

In his remarks, Professor Totolo mentioned several educational outreach programs such as GEMS, as well as the ACS chemistry festival. He remarked that science was a pillar at BIUST and thus encouraged stakeholders to come up with ways they could use science to contribute meaningfully to the country’s economy. 

Professor Totolo commended teachers from the various secondary schools for bringing their pupils to witness the goodness of science and to appreciate what they get taught in their classrooms from the practical sessions they underwent at the event. 

When giving a keynote address, the Chief Education Officer, Mrs Mmemo said that they will promote the use of science, technology and innovation in the social, economic and business spheres to enhance efficiency. She thanked BIUST for its education outreach programs, which she believed would go a long way in raising and training the next generation of scientists and ensuring they are aligned with the Vision 2036 pillars and the United Nations sustainable development goals.  

She expressed delight in the experiments that the ACS volunteers made, more so that the materials used for the experiments were harmless and locally sourced. Mrs Mmemo said she was happy with the teachings of the ACS that showed students experiments that could be done at home as they required no special materials, thus making them perfect for the students to teach others at their respective homes. 

Mrs Mmemo highlighted that polymers are very important in our lives as they are easy to find. She said that their existence helps to make life easier for humans. As much as polymers are detrimental to our survival, they come with cons which have proven to be harmful not only to human bodies but to the environment as well. 

“Plastic waste is one con brought about by polymers that have befallen the country. Irresponsible handling of waste leads to pollution and potential health risks,” she said.

Mrs Mmemo urged the attendees that as much as awareness is brought to the attention of young people, it should also be brought to their attention how negatively mishandling polymers affects the environment. 

In her vote of thanks, Mrs Puline Molebatsi, the Principal of Kgaswe International School, showed gratitude to BIUST for seeing it fit to host such an event and inviting them as secondary schools to appreciate the significance of polymers in practical than they do in class. She thanked the ACS volunteers for the experiments that they performed. The experiments, she said, did not only enhance the knowledge of their students but all dignitaries as they got to appreciate the science that happens behind certain aspects.

She said what captivated her the most was the experiment where baby oil was used to make a balloon pop. She encouraged BIUST to continue with similar festivals as they were educational to students. In closing, she further urged that they involve schools outside Palapye as she believes that they could also appreciate the practical lessons they would receive.