Litter Picking for Project Trust

Over the next few weeks I will be conducting litter picks within the Walkley/Crookes area to fundraise for my GAP Year in Nepal with Project Trust. I have chosen a litter pick as a fundraising activity because this will both make our community a little cleaner and will help raise awareness about my GAP Year. I also thought this would be a good activity as there is a big problem with litter in Nepal. There are no recycling services in rural Nepal, so anything that would normally be recycled in Britain just gets thrown on the ground. This becomes a major problem because the non-biodegradable plastics are harmful to the environment and local wildlife.

The most well-known instance of a litter problem is on Mount Everest; as of April 2014 climbers have been told to help clean up at least 8kg of rubbish as well as bringing back everything they took with them in the first place. Those who do not bring back all of their own equipment and at least 8kg of extra rubbish are penalised by the forfeit of their mandatory $4000 deposit. Since then the mountain has become much cleaner, which is wonderful, but there are many other areas of Nepal which do not generate as much interest that have the same litter problem.

I discovered the litter problem when one of the charities I wrote to was kind enough to offer advice although they were unable to offer financial support. In addition to suggesting that I do a first aid course, bring small gifts for children I’ll meet and telling me what the Nepalese people will be like – generous, loving, and full of smiles – she also said that I should bring a reusable water bottle because litter is a problem.

In Britain recycling and garbage disposal happens all the time. Stick your rubbish in the correct bin and it gets taken away. Biodegradable rubbish is taken to a landfill where it is allowed to break down, while the non-biodegradable stuff is often melted or crushed and reused – certain fabrics for clothes can be made out of certain plastics, and paper and glass can be made into more paper and glass. This system helps to protect the environment by keeping litter to a minimum, and as a bonus, the process of recycling a product like paper, glass or aluminium takes less energy and creates less pollution than obtaining or making it all from scratch. Lowering harmful emissions from factories and reducing the amount of non-degradable rubbish all through one system!

We take this for granted, but in rural Nepal there is no such thing as recycling. Years ago this wasn’t as big of an issue because the local people would reuse what they had. But over the past few decades we’ve started to generate a lot more ‘disposable’ items. Meaning items we use once and throw away. So a plastic water bottle instead of a reusable glass or metal container. Here in the UK, if we buy a bottle of water we throw it in the recycling and don’t think any more about it. But in Nepal there is nowhere for it to go. Garbage disposal is just a large pile nearby, collecting recyclable materials that stay as they are for hundreds or thousands of years and posing a danger to the plant and animal life nearby.

You can help out in one of three ways…

1) Join me at noon on Saturday Aug 13th at Ruskin Park playground to help pick up litter from the park in the afternoon. We’ll be doing it rain or shine so dress appropriately!

2) Pass on the word to others about my litter pick challenge.

3) Donate money towards my gap year teaching English in Nepal. I take cash or cheques made out to Project Trust and they can be left in an envelope at the studio. 

Thanks, I would love to see you in August!

Love, sunshine and moonbeams,

Mer