Students and teachers from Santa Monica High School recently partnered with Gabrielino High School’s “Green Dream” eco-club to collect recyclables to raise money to buy one million “LifeStraws” for countries with unsafe drinking water.

Each straw lasts for one year and filters 99 percent of bacteria, viruses, and parasites from potentially contaminated water sources, Santa Monica High teacher Bejamin Kay said. In the last two months, Samohi students from the marine biology program, Team Marine, the Heal the Bay Surfrider Club, and the tenth grade A-house Advisory have collected over 10,000 plastic and glass bottles and aluminum cans from their campus, homes, and community, Kay said.

With the California Redemption Value set at 5 cents per container, it takes 110 recycled bottles to buy one “lifestraw.”

“I have seen much enthusiasm from my friends for the LifeStraw Program,” said Megan Kilroy, captain of Team Marine and the Solar Boat Crew. “It gives me hope that we can make a true difference in the world, especially by making water safer for children to drink.”

Student Celina Stilphen, new co-president of the Heal the Bay Surfrider Club, added, “The program is a great opportunity for the youth to help save lives and the environment at the same time.”

Kay said he didn’t want to encourage his students to over consume single-use plastic beverage containers but he noted there is still room to promote recycling awareness.

“The sheer volume of recyclables we have amassed is getting students to think about waste reduction, and more and more students are switching to stainless steel reusable water bottles.” Kay said.