GIS – 27 September 2013: The Waste Segregation Project in tertiary education institutions was launched yesterday at the University of Technology, Mauritius (UTM), Pointe aux Sables in the presence of the Minister of Environment and Sustainable Development, Mr. Devanand Virahsawmy, and Minister of Tertiary Education, Science, Research and Technology, Dr. Rajeshwar Jeetah, and other personalities. The aim is to inculcate the concept of waste sorting and recycling and also contribute to resource conservation as outlined in the project Maurice Ile Durable.
In his address, Minister Virahsawmy pointed out that the objectives of this project are many fold as it involves the integration of the principles of sustainable development into different learning situations. He added that the project would help promote the three R’s related to waste, that is, reduce, reuse and recycle.
According to the Minister, the management of solid waste, which is the basis for the creation of a clean, green and healthy environment, is one of the main environmental challenges today. Everyday local authorities collect about 1200 tonnes of solid wastes and these consist mostly of organic wastes which represent around 60% of the total waste generated.
Mr. Virahsawmy expressed his concern to the fact that despite the services offered by local authorities, solid wastes are still being disposed of in bare lands and on river banks thus creating environmental nuisances. Out of the 100 million of plastic bottles produced annually only 30% is collected for recycling purposes and the rest is either landfilled or disposed of in open sky, he deplored.
Several initiatives underway to put the country on the path of sustainability and new schemes such as the rain water harvesting for households, schools and markets, and water faucet aerators for households, are in the pipeline. Mr. Virahsawmy pledged that his Ministry will carry out embellishment and infrastructural works, like foot bridge, handrails and benches, amongst others, at UTM to the tune of Rs 600 million.
For his part, Minister Jeetah called the students to shift from voluntary to mandatory segregation of waste, adding that it is their duty to influence their parents to resort to waste segregation and composting biodegradable domestic wastes . This is our island, we should care and protect it, he said.
Government alone will not be able to bring about a major change in people’s mindset. However, each individual will have to make an effort to ensure that the Waste Segregation project is successfully implemented, he stated.
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