Australian university to run major “rubbish-busting” project in Nepal

8 JANUARY 2020 I An Australian university is sending 30 academics and undergraduate volunteers to Nepal to develop creative ways of managing plastic waste which is seriously harming the environment of the beautiful mountain nation.

According to the University of Sunshine Coast (USC), its project team would “work directly with Nepalese organisations and communities this year to research and design plastic waste strategies and solutions”.

The USC project will seek “innovative solutions” to “reduce and reuse” Nepal’s plastic waste.

The university has already secured a $79,200 grant through the Federal Government’s New Colombo Plan Mobility program to executive the ambitious project.

For now, communities living in the mountainous region of Rasuwa district will be the focus of the USC project. However, they will seek to replicate the work in other areas of the country, USC said yesterday.

“Waste is a significant health and environmental issue in Nepal, especially in rural communities where there is no recycling industry, limited rubbish removal and no clear rules on practices such as burning and open dumping,” Dr Kathy Townsend, the project leader, was quoted as saying.

“By looking at the problem of plastic waste through the multidisciplinary lens of science, education, engineering and business, the USC team aims to work actively with the local community to create real change,” Dr Townsend further added.

Participating Australian students will survey and analyse needs of the local Nepalese communities in Rasuwa district and tailor ongoing projects in collaboration with local youth and the wider community. The project would run for a period of one year, it is understood.

Lecturer in Accounting Dr Ratna Paudyal, Lecturer in Education Dr David Martin and Senior Lecturer in Engineering Dr Helen Fairweather will consist the USC project team.

Dr Paudyal, a person of Nepalese origin, believes that the project would enable USC academics and students to make a meaningful and sustainable contribution to the Himalayan nation.

“We will help grow a new generation of waste leaders in Nepal by educating and training local youth on the importance of garbage management and helping them to develop and implement ongoing waste reduction projects,” the news release quoted Dr Paudyal as saying.

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