Since the first lock down, the students of Don Bosco Technological Institute, Boroko have been under so much confusion and stress build up from the unknown circumstances of this COVID-19 Pandemic. The disconnection from our families, classmates and our general support network has increased our levels of stress. We did have some therapy sessions that had helped us seek a balance and remain focused. But that has slowly declined in some of us. People react differently to different situations and we need something to hold on to and keep us focused.
Everybody wants to survive COVID-19. One of the practical ideas that emerged during the second lock down was to do something practical as a means to manage our stress levels.
Recycling and Waste management was something that struck me and a few of my companions. It is sad to see the lack of cleanliness of our environment. People throw rubbish everywhere. Our cities, towns, markets, schools and even our hospitals are flooded with plastic waste, papers, scrap metals and bottles. This is a terrible issue. Plastic pollution is continuing to contaminate the planet. If we are not careful to manage our rubbish, it will affect many generations yet to come. It can be dangerous to us and our ecosystem as well.
The past nine days of segregation during our lock-down and quarantine has started to work. Keeping our place clean, we have been separating waste materials into different categories like soft plastics, hard plastics, metal scraps, aluminium tins and papers. I have come to realize that plastic recycling is a brilliant idea. Not only can it save us, but it can save nature as well. If you don’t have an opportunity to separate your waste for recycling, do not throw the beverage bottles out. See in that bottle a beautiful plastic bottle for a craft project. At the same time, you will help our fragile ecosystem.
This experience has given me an insight into the beauty and reality of our world. The different kinds of waste need to be segregated e.g., land filling for compost, incineration of combustible waste, animal feeding, fermentation, recovery and recycling, and I believe there are other practices as well.
‘Try and make use of this time to segregate waste at home, whether its plastic wastes, bottles, papers, hard cartoons. These can be recycled into useful products. Everything around us has started from a thought or an idea before it took its physical form. We can create something out of waste and garbage. Let’s unleash our creativity. One can start using these techniques right at home. The lockdown must make us realize that we need to reduce the amount of disposable material that we use.
If we want to save our Mother Earth and emerge a better person, we must make the change now. Nothing will change if nothing changes. If you are a young person at home without hope during this locked down period. I urge you to take a look at yourself, try to identify your weakness and strengths and make the adjustment, and do something that will keep you busy. Whether it’s lifting weights, meditating, reading or catching up with your studies. Try to look at ways to use your time to better yourself. Don’t let your lockdown days be wasted. Find a purpose for them. Responsible agencies need to conduct awareness and have educational programs on Proper Waste Management Practices.
Clyde Dickson, is a 3rd year Bachelor of Education student at Don Bosco Technical Institute, Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea.
This year, Africa and the entire world has witnessed an environmental crisis, ranging from the ongoing locust invasion in the horn of Africa, the Australian bushfires, cyclones and floods, wildfires ravaging tropical rain-forests and many countries grappling with the Coronavirus pandemic. All these calamities are a proof that human health is linked to the planet’s health.