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Let me take this time to wish all readers of this publication and column, a merry Christmas and a happy new year. The Christmas and New Year season is a festive season where families coming together for celebrations while some go out for holiday. It is a festive season where we expect to enjoy ourselves with friends and family.
During this season, some travel to far away places even across borders to have family gatherings and celebrations. Most people, especially women, save money throughout the year metshelo to prepare for the festive season. This is a moment where most of us look forward to having every year.
One thing that is common during the Christmas and New Year festive season is the many festive celebrations and picnics which are characterised by excessive spending and buying. Similarly, the amount of waste generated during this period is rather higher than normal in certain facilities.
Environmentalists are often interested in waste management during this period. Poor waste disposal especially littering is one of the environmental challenges in Botswana. It is from this standpoint that I would like to advice fellow citizens and friends to avoid poor waste disposal during this season to maintain a healthy environment. We should observe the 4Rs of waste management, these are: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle and Reclaim.
The 4Rs are an important part of sustainable living, as they help cut down on the amount of waste we must throw away. The 4Rs can help us find better ways to manage our litter. The 4Rs can be summed as follows:
1.Reduce – reduce or cut down the amount of litter we produce. We can do this by buying products in bulk that are made from recycled material. We can also use canvas bags instead of plastic packets for shopping. This means we should reduce all the activities that generate of solid waste into the environment. We should reduce the solid waste in our community by changing our habits. For example, using washable clothes, napkins instead of napkins paper, using washable containers for lunches instead of the former packs, using sacks instead of using non-reusable plastic bags, buying recycled products, using cotton bags for shopping etc.
2.Reuse – we can reuse materials we would normally throw away. For example, we can reuse plastic or glass bottles instead of new ones which use up more raw materials. Reuse increases the life of waste and reduces the production of waste so that it preserves the environment. Reusing products not only contributes to the protection of nature but also saves our money. We can reuse solid waste by considering the following points: Use reusable plastic bags or cotton bags for shopping and use plastic bottles/containers to store water and oil.
3.Recycle – We can recycle the rubbish that cannot be reused. That is, we can collect all our rubbish, sort it into its different categories (paper, glass, metal, plastic etc.), and then put it in the correct recycle bins or take it to a buy-back centre. In this regard, we can make new products. For example, aluminum from used beverages cans can be recycled to make other aluminum products. Recycle therefore means re-covering a previously used object and giving it a second life. The use of waste by processing and modifying it into another form reduces the amount of waste that may accumulate in the environment.
4.Recover/Reclaim – we convert waste into resources usable resources (such as heat, and fuel) from paper. Most of the materials thrown in the garbage can be used and be processed in ways other than being destroyed. Such a process is called recovering. For example, plastic waste or paper can be burnt to produce energy or heat.
During this festive season, we should observe the 4R principle because it makes us reuse waste materials, maintain environmental health, minimize land, and water pollution and promote the use of degradable products. I wish you a Merry Christmas and a happy 2024.