Sustainable Development in Northern India
It has been a long time since we work closely to the Naddi communities raising awareness of the importance of manage the waste properly. Now, they understand how big is this problem, and they want to create a solution!! As a result, our SWASH project (Sanitation of Water, Air, and Soil for Healthy Villages) is ready to step forward! We are going to start a system to manage the waste in Naddi! Firstly, we had to gather information about how the waste is managed in Dharamsala. Only if we find out how the system operates we will be able to get rid of each kind of trash in the best possible way. So we went to the Dharamsala dumping site.
The visit to the dumping site was devastating, to see with your own eyes how a mountain of rubbish is growing in an incredible area of the Himalayas is really hard to assimilate. But because an image worth more than 1000 words, these photos will explain better what I am talking about…
With the conviction that we have to find a better solution than this dumping area, we arrange a meeting with Surinder Kumar, the Waste Management Chief in Dharamsala. He explained us the actual situation. The bad news, for instance, they only have four trucks and one private contractor to manage the 15 to 18 tons of waste that are produced in Upper and Lower Dharamsala. And the good news, such us the success of the door to door collection which pick up the trash of 100 to 200 houses. Mr. Kumar also gave us a very good new, as of October 2nd this year all polythene items, such as the chips and cookies plastic bags, will be banned in HP! Plastic bags have been successfully banned for three years already, so this new law will be decisive on the waste management of the region. Finally, Mr. Kumar also explained us the different possibilities to recycle several materials. For example, the Tibetan Settlement Office in McLeod Ganj, where 25 people are working recycling paper. Or the compost facility in Shimla. There is also a recycling plant, unluckily is quite far away, in the adjacent state of Punjab.
In order to don‘t decline our educational work with the community just because the project is expanding, we did a recycling workshop with the children. One of the most common materials in the trash bins is the newspaper because since the plastic bags were banned in HP, shop tenders have replaced them for old newspapers. So, we gather a lot of this paper in our intern houses and we explain to the kids how to recycle it, which is very easy, and also really fun!! The workshop was a complete success, all the kids cooperated to have their own folders and they understood directly how the recycle process operates.
By Sergio Cristóbal