Bishnu Bhatta, Director for Partnership for Sustainable Development (PSD) and Nepal Representative from Asia for Nature Action Collaborative for Children, talks about his work with the World Forum Foundation and gives powerful insight into creating sustainable change.
I still remember the day when I received an email from John Rosenow offering me to facilitate Nature Action Collaborative for Children workshop in Nebraska in 2006. As I have been working in the field of children and environment for many years it was a great opportunity for me to be connected with many others working in the same field. So, without taking any time I immediately accepted the offer and replied to Rosenow. Since then I have been involved with the World Forum Foundation and representing Asia for Nature Action Collaborative for Children. That gave me an opportunity to create International Mud Day and Learning from Mother Nature program, which is very popular around the world nowadays. This year on 29 June many of us all over the world will be celebrating the 10th International Mud Day. This network gave us wonderful opportunity to connect people around the world and since then we have been strongly connected each other. In Nepal, all people who have participated in different world forums have developed a very good bonding with many international colleagues and they are sharing their work and experiences and also complementing each other’s work. We are very much thankful to the World Forum for creating this platform to connect among thousands of people around the world.
Today, I would like to share our efforts to manage plastics waste in Nepal.
Plastics are powerful.
Globally, the recent statistics show that 448 million tons of plastics are produced annually (NatGeo, June 2018). Historically, less than 1% has been recycled, and almost 10 million tons ends up in the ocean every year. Nepal is sadly no different although it’s a landlocked country. In Kathmandu, the capital city alone, 10 tons of inorganic wastes are sent to landfills area on a daily basis. Forty per cent of plastics – bags, bottles, and containers – are used just once and then disposed.
How can we reframe the debate?
PSD Nepal has been using plastics harvested from Langtang National Park – in Rasuwa, Northern Nepal – for both recycling and upcycling purposes. Waste PET bottles – from Coke, Sprite, Fanta, and Dew to water – are recycled by Himalayan Plastic in Pokhara, with around 35,000 bottles sent every month from Rasuwa. What of the bottle caps though? We creatively used the caps and upcycled in architectural projects around Syabru Besi, and also used for educational purposes, telling stories with plastic bottle PET caps.
Upcycling simply means reusing waste materials for products of higher quality or value. What we found was amazing. We found its use extremely powerful. It is creative, intuitive, and resourceful. In trauma-inflicted areas, such as Rasuwa in Nepal – still recovering from the devastation of the 2015 mega-earthquake and the almost 400 lives lost – plastic is used as a powerful agent. It is being used to teach creative stories to schoolchildren in Syabru Besi (nearby schools), talking of hydropower and clean rivers. It is being used to teach concepts of colors, size and shapes at early childhood education centres and also for play and fun, and for story-telling. A workshop was also organized on how to use pet bottle caps during the ECD conference held in Kathmandu in the first week of June 2018. The participants’ response was overwhelming–everybody just loved it and appreciated the idea of using plastic waste.
I would like to request you all who are interested in this initiative to contact us so that we can share our efforts in detail with you and promote this initiative in Nepal as well as in many more countries.
View media on the events online.
Field media – photographs from Kathmandu and Rasuwa
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