Project in progress: Waste management in China

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Project in progress : Sensitization and waste management project à Sershul (China)

Period: June 2010 – December 2012 (1st phase)
Financial partner: Fedevaco
Technical partner: Unipoly (UNIL and EPFL)
Local partners: Monks, local communities, and village leaders.
Project manager: Simone Holladay
Project coordinator: Trinley Sangpo

Project presentation:

Over the past few years, China has had a remarkable period of rapid economical growth, which also affected Tibet. Consequently, consumer goods are more predominant today in the country, even in remote areas such as the North of Sichuan, at the border with Qinghai and the Tibet Autonomous Region.

In 2007, it was still common to dispose of organic and non-organic waste in nature (rivers, pastures, etc.). However, there was neither suitable waste disposal to deal with the toxic waste nor awareness campaigns to change inappropriate practices. The habit of throwing waste in nature had a catastrophic impact on the environment. Many respiratory diseases appeared and animals needed for nomad’s survival (including yaks) died from eating plastic. Many local leaders contacted Norlha with the objective to motivate the association to set up a project on the ground.

Through the large monastic population within the district, a large number of monks have been informed about the right practices to follow to protect environment and health of the local communities. Monks are key partners to increase awareness of the district inhabitants (particularly during annual festivals, and other gatherings). Awareness campaigns for children have also taken place in schools and posters/communication materials have been created to reach local communities.

Norlha has also created waste collection systems in 5 villages whereas the environmental situation was catastrophic beforehand.

Results:

Creation of communication materials

  • A manual with 108 theoretical actions to follow has been created for the Monks and had an undeniable influence in the region.
  • A manual has been created for the Tibetan school teachers
  • Posters have been created for the Tibetan nomads and have been posted in festivals
  • Interactive games and stories in Tibetan have been created for kids

Events have been organized to sensitize the local populations to environmental challenges :

  • 2000 people have been sensitized to environmental challenges
  • 800 people have been directly trained in 2012

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Waste collection systems have been created:

  • 260 bins are now available in key places (main avenues, in front of public buildings) in 5 different villages.
  • Storage locations have been created for all recyclable and non-recyclable waste: batteries, glass bottles, plastic bottles, medical waste and electronic waste in each village

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Norlha wishes to implement additional awareness campaigns to reach further nomadic populations. Those campaigns will be concentrated between May and June, when nomads can be found in mountains to harvest yartsa gunbu (lucrative mushroom) as well as in festivals.

In this favorable climate, Norlha also wishes to continue its efforts to strengthen capacity building and to reinforce current waste collection and waste management actions in the 5 villages.

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Links and resources: