Health and the Environment: Being part of the difference

November 18, 2015, 10:38am

By Deidre Kwenani, Ndapunikwa Investments 

Last week, I wrote an article on taking care of the environment we live in so it essentially takes care of us. I highlighted the fact that Namibia is known for being one of the most beautiful and CLEAN places in the world.

However, conserving the nation takes the efforts of EVERYONE. If you want to do your part in preserving the beauty of Namibia and ensuring we are living in a clean and healthy environment, here are some simple suggestions:

In order continue living in a city/country that is known around the world for its beauty, we may need to start changing the way we are thinking about waste. The Windhoek Municipality encourages people to think about their waste in 5 steps: eliminate, reduce, reuse, recycle, and then dispose.

First step: ELIMINATE

The Municipality says we should think twice about what we are buying in order to avoid producing waste. Look at the packaging of the items in your shopping trolley. Could you potentially buy something with less packaging?

Second step: REDUCING

If you start to practice the above-mentioned tactics you will notice you are already reducing the amount of waste produced. However, this step involves intention. You must intentionally look at every item you are throwing away and ask yourself, “Could this item be reused or recycled?”.

Third step: REUSE

Reusing items may take a bit of creativity, but it will often lead to less spending and could result in some fun craft activities for you and/or the kids. Here are a few fun and creative ways to reuse common household items…

1. Egg Cartons can have a variety of new purposes. You can use them to start seedlings for your garden, as storage for things like golf balls, or for organizing coins or jewelry. Kids can use them as a cash register when playing “store”, or can paint them and use them for an art project.

2. Paper Towel Rolls make it easy to organize your plastic bag collection. Simply stuff the plastics into the towel roll and store it somewhere out-of-sight until you can reuse or recycle the plastics. You can also use the paper towel roll to keep your extension/lead cable from getting tangled, or stuff them into your knee-high boots to keep them from falling over and creating the unwanted boot crease… ladies you know what I’m talking about!

If you have gone through the first three steps of eliminating, reducing and reusing, and you still have a piece of rubbish, consider whether you are able to RECYCLE it.

Here is some information on the Municipality and their recycling efforts and guidelines:

As of August 2010, a collaboration between Enviro-Fill Namibia, Rent-A-Drum, and the City of Windhoek resulted in a recycling initiative called the Clean Bag System (CBS). The project ensures that every household is supplied weekly with a clear plastic bag in which to put your recyclables.

Follow the diagram to understand what waste items can actually be recycled, and if, by chance, your household is not being provided a “clear bag” for recycling, be sure to give the City of Windhoek Solid Waste Management Division a friendly ring to request yours.

Last step: DISPOSE

Throw your trash in a TRASH BIN. They have them all over the city, and if you are not in the vicinity of a trash bin, just hold on to your rubbish until you reach a bin. Please do not litter. It really makes this place of wilderness splendor look like an urban landfill. Plus, you are setting a precedent to your children and others around you that it’s ok to litter.

Remember: kids don’t generally do what you say, but they often do what YOU DO! Most of the time, its not the lectures about littering that have an impact, it’s the example you are setting by taking your own advice!

That’s all for this week! Next week, learn more about reducing, reusing and recycling with fun, interesting, and handy tips with Ndapunikwa Investments. 

Egg Carton Photo: feserc
Diagram: http://solidwastemanagement.org.na/recycling-initiative