By Emily Gruber, Fellowship 5th cohort
Since being in Nepal, and especially living in Ramechhap, I’ve become much more aware of the waste I’m producing. In Kathmandu, there is no public waste management system, so you see trash on the streets and in rivers; seeing the trash all the time and visiting a dumping site as a part of the program made me really aware of the waste I was contributing to those piles. Being able to see and smell the tons of garbage at the dumping site really changed my perspective on something that I never really thought of because it was always invisible to me. It was never my problem, it was always someone else’s problem.
In our village in Ramechhap, we are directly involved in our waste disposal- we have to burn our trash. Every week we gather our trash and light it on fire, moving around the paper with a stick so it will eventually catch fire and burn. We can smell the plastic and feel it burning our eyes. Because we do this on our own, I’m very conscious of what we’re burning and how often. Although I produce much more waste back at home, here I can really see what I’m using and throwing away, and what I could spare using so I wouldn’t have to burn it later. In our last seminar, Jonatan, a Tevel staff member, taught me how to compost, and now our fellowship family in Dahu has a beautiful compost hole. About 75% of the waste we produce is food waste, and composting has been a great way to decrease our environmental impact from waste production.
Even though when I return home I will have the luxury of garbage pick up, I believe that the lessons I am learning here of reducing waste and reducing the impact on the environment around me will keep me mindful about my consumption for years to come.