Wednesday, 1 April 2015

Waste not, want not

As part of our work in community, we have to complete an ACD (Active Citizen Day) to our fellow volunteers on a topic of our choosing. Meetum and I chose to do a Waste Management ACD on Sunday, as we felt waste is a major issue not only in our community, but an issue for Nepal in general. I think back to my brief time in Kathmandu and how I witnessed rubbish flowing into the river. Thankfully that doesn't seem to happen in Duipiple, nonetheless rubbish is found in the gutters, along the road and in the open green areas. We felt that a waste management ACD would bring to light what we had experienced in community through our CAD's (Community Action Days), as well as the issues Nepal faces as a country dealing with a waste problem.

Did you know...
* Hospitals have no permitted area to dispose of their hazardous waste. This means it is usually burned which is very dangerous as it releases dioxin and furan into the atmosphere - two highly carcinogenic pollutants.
* There are no proper slaughter houses in any municipalities & no rules for disposing of dead cows and dogs. They end up in shallow graves near river banks, leaching into the water supply.
* Plastic bags clog rivers and choke drainage pipes creating flooding & spreading disease. The health impacts are get at all levels.

Another important issue that relates to waste is climate change, with Nepal desperately trying to combat both issues.

On Monday we had our Waste Management workshop and what I thought was going to be a total disaster (it was raining quite heavily and one person turned up at our scheduled start of 11am), turned into a great success with 30 people attending, and... the majority were women! Wooo Girl Power! Admittedly most of them didn't arrive until 12.30pm (that's how Nepalese time works. You say 11am and they come at 12.30pm), but they seemed to really enjoy it and have great input. The workshop included;
* Healthy and unhealthy environments (the differences between them & what we can do to keep 'our' environment healthy)
* Biodegradable & non-biodegradable products (definitions of both, examples of both and what we can do with biodegradable products)
* Making use of non-biodegradable plastic bottles (the women all decided to make mini greenhouses, and they absolutely loved it!!!)
* Ideas on what to do next

I was really impressed by the knowledge of the women. The head of the women's group even came out with bio-gas as a way to reuse biodegradable products. Impressive hey?

What I thought was going to be an hour workshop, actually turned into 3.5 hours including the chief of VDC making a speech about the need for change. Progress!!!

All in all, I felt this workshop was a brilliant start to implement change to the attitudes of waste in the community. In the ideas part of the workshop, we had a woman commenting on how if you're out shopping for sugar, rice, flour etc... take the jar you already own instead of buying a new one. Simple, but effective. And a very good idea if I say so myself!

You may be wondering how I'm doing in terms of my ear infection that I commented on in my last post. Well... and I REALLY wish this was an April Fools Day joke, but I've actually got worse. On Monday, I believe I got food poisoning from some samosas and it still hasn't sorted itself out, and I have awful abdominal cramps. On top of that, I woke up in the early hours of this morning with a swollen face (check out the picture. I look miserable but it's pretty funny having hamster cheeks. I'm trying to find the positivity people...). And, after going to the doctors today (a week after my first visit), apparently the infection hasn't fully cleared, so I'm riddled with bacteria at the moment. And not the good Actimel kind =(

But, there is light at the end of the tunnel. I'm off to Pokhara hospital either tomorrow or Friday to get seen to by a specialist. I'm just not getting better and with my body trying to fight a whole array of things, I need a little help to push me on the road to recovery.

So, by the time my next blog post comes around, hopefully I'll be fighting fit again and can tell you all about my nice adventures. Not the adventures where I'm in bed all day trying to recover!!!

Alice x

And last but not least... my hamster face.

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