ProCEEd conductsed interactive skill and knowledge workshop on waste management for PONRE Khammouane

ProCEEd Khammouane supported the Provincial Office of Natural Resources and Environment (PONRE) in Thakhek, with a training workshop on waste management, from August 23rd to 25th 2018. The objectives were to train 18 PONRE employees on the facts about, risks of and options for solid waste management. The program included external guest presenters from four different organizations, and a field trip to the local landfill. The knowledge provided, together with topic-related non-formal education skills, should be used in future activities to multiply the information presented and raise awareness in the provinces’ populations.

The level of environmental friendly waste treatment in Lao PDR is still very low. Not too long ago the population was still completely depending on nature’s resources. No artificial materials were available, nor were they needed. In times when food wrappings, everyday products and any materials came directly from fields, rivers and forests, waste was not yet a problem to think of. But within the last few decades the country has been overrun by cheap, industrial processed materials for daily use. Styrofoam displaced banana leaves, plastic bags took the place of reed baskets or fabric bags, and plastic fiber repressed more and more natural textiles. The consumption and disposal behaviors of the Lao people barely changed during this transformation, but the environmental impact of disposing of these synthetic materials is tremendous compared to natural products.

The need for information, education and awareness raising about waste is alarmingly high in this country. For the province of Khammouane, Mr. Khatsaman Chanthalad from PONRE decided to train his team on this very topic, in order to multiply the knowledge in schools, sensitize the public and promote a positive change of behavior in their province. ProCEEd supported Khatsaman’s idea and organized a human capacity building activity from 23rd to 25th of August 2018 in Thakhek.

The program’s outline contained four chapters. First there was a discussion on how to define “waste” and “waste management” in personal, local and general contexts. In addition, the various threats, risks and problems of non-managed, as well as managed, waste disposal were expounded and different examples were illustrated. A field trip to the local landfill at the edge of Thakhek was a real eye-opener for the majority of the group. This little excursion substantiated the previously discussed theory, in a very easy but impressive way. The third chapter, back in the training venue, dealt with solutions and methods to achieve best practice solid waste treatment and, even more importantly, the various options to avoid trash production at all. The final session aimed to raise participants’ awareness on how crucial a personal change of waste behavior is. A practical exercise introduced a possible way to successfully cope with the difficulties of implementing new habits in our everyday-lives. Besides the Development Advisor and his assistants from ProCEEd, four guest speakers completed the diverse group of presenters and gave additional inputs between the main sessions. Mr. Bae Pheaxay and Mrs. Somsanouk Akkhavong, spokespersons for Social Environmental Education and Development (SEED) and the Mobile Conservation Unit (MCU), from the faculty of Environmental Science and the


Faculty of Forestry at the National University of Laos, shared their personal experiences about waste education. Mr. Serge Doussantousse, the director of Green Vientiane, provided some technical knowledge about waste management for the specific situation in Laos. He also introduced a global waste collection event, World Clean-Up Day. This big happening took place on 15th September 2018, not only in Laos but in more than 150 countries around the world. Last but not least, a representative of the Lao Youth Union (LYU) Khammouane joined the workshop and expressed her organization’s interest in supporting waste education and awareness raising activities in the province.

This event seemed not only to be a colorful, diverse and practically-oriented capacity building measure, but also a great opportunity to share experiences and to build new bridges. For instance, the Lao Youth Union decided, quite spontaneously, to cooperate with Green Vientiane to bring the World Clean-Up Day to Thakhek. What’s more, this workshop fulfilled its main objective well: to supply the attendants with crucial tools all about waste management. Now nothing stands in the way of organizing new exciting education activities in Khammouane.



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