There are many reasons why the Don Bosco Technical Institute (DBTI) in Port Moresby, has launched an integrated waste management plan.

The motivation for this plan spawned from two key places; the call of Pope Francis who established 2020 as a special year dedicated to the encyclical Laudato sì and the Strenna for 2020.

In choosing "Good Christians and Upright Citizens" as the theme, Rector Major, Fr Ángel Fernández Artime has underlined the importance of concrete initiatives for the care of the environment.

The goal of the waste management plan that DBTI has set is to become "Zero Waste." The focus is therefore on the conservation of resources, responsible production and, the reuse of waste materials.

Currently, too much waste is incinerated or dumped on both land and the water. As has become abundantly clear across the world, dumping waste into the environment in any manner is a serious threat to all forms of life.

The first step in initiating this waste management project was the purchasing of different bins to support the process of separate rubbish collections. Now, staff members and community residents are able to take the lead in sorting waste into the appropriate bins.

DBTI is now looking to move beyond its current situation of relying on an incinerator to dispose of cardboard and plastic waste, as it is quite problematic. The smoke produced from this “easy method” of disposing of rubbish can disturb the community with choking smoke, which has a costly environmental impact.

In addition, this year four large compost pits were built at the back of the school, two in the Salesian residence and two more in the staff houses. While these require constant monitoring to remain safe, they are a great step forward toward a more sustainable future for DBTI.

While it's not always glamorous work, composting is an incredibly positive step for the local enviroment.

To ensure proper waste management, the DBTI has organized a team made up of volunteers - 8 staff members and 6 students. Each of them studies and works in different areas of expertise, ranging from school cleaning to collecting plastic, paper and glass.

At the moment, much of the effort in waste management is exercised by students and staff, but the hope is to increase the amount of people who are involved in this drive.

One thing is for certain - it is that young people continue to be the real protagonists of change, forming and leadingconcrete initiatives and actions for the care and conservation of the environment.

Would you like to be more involved with helping make a positive impact on your local enviroment? The Don Bosco Green Alliance offers plenty of fantastic ideas on how you can get you thumbs green!