Recycling and waste treatment

A few weeks ago some friends and I went up to Andohalo‘s park for a monthly gathering of (all) English Clubs in Tana. The organizers, EFL, made a good choice because the park and its neighbourhood is really a nice place. As a public place, like most of those you can find in Tana, it has garbage cans. What differes them from the others is that it has 2 different cans. One for recyclable trash and the other for non recyclable. That surprised me at a certain point because the last time I was there I didn’t notice them. It was at night. And I’d never seen such thing here before.

Having garbage cans is not a new thing. We’ve been having them since a … long while even though they are definitly not enough. But that doesn’t prevent the town from having this kind of situation (by Pakysse, who will be live blogging at the G20 Summit in Pittsburgh and the UN one on climate change in NY). As for me, what is important is the way you’ll convince people to use them, that means to change a little thing in their habits. I remember on day in our Fokontany, a private firm in recycling household waste wanted to work with us. They proposed to pick up our waste and then recycle them. Into what we didn’t know. The idea seemed to catch people’s interest but when the first responsable of the firm explain us how the process of picking up would go almost anybody felt reluctant. Why? Because it would change how we would collect and sort our trash plus we’d have to have two or more garbage cans at home – or at least two plastic bags. Something only few of us could afford . We also thought it would be time consumming to sort our waste and why would we do that? It’ should be their job. At the time, we thought the things they are asking for were not worth changing our habits.

I heard of the recycling-waste business first in 2007 with Vohitra Environnement (fr) in Ambohimanga. They started with only industrial waste treatment but planed on getting to the house hold one soon. I also did a little google search about this field in Madagascar and it seemed like many were the projects – mostly lead by NGOs – that dealt with this matter like this and this. I don’t know what has been their impacts on the ground. How people perceived and adopted the changes they proposed or are they still running by now. A year or two ago, a collect of plastic bottles was launched but I didn’t really know who was behind it.

It is hard to break habits and it takes more than time to change someone’s routine. That implies education, senzitation and patience.