Waste management

Development and introduction of a concept for waste management and environmental science in the village Sani, Zanskar

In the past few years a waste problem evolved not only in Sani but in the entire region of Ladakh which more or less overwhelms the people living there. Owing to Ladakh’s location in the northern part of the Himalayas, up until a few years ago the people were completely sealed off from the influence of western culture. The people led their life until then more or less like an autarkic society, i.e. they used up all products created and did not produce any waste in the true sense of the word. Caused by the influences of modernization and tourism, the life in Ladakh changed. Society currently undergoes a change moving away from an autarkic society towards a consumer society. Thinking about consume and possession has now become the daily routine of people. This is why consumer goods and other goods are integrated into the daily life of these people. These have the negative by-effects, however, that owing to their packaging, useful life, by-products and their use in itself waste is produced. People who up until now have processed everything they produced lack a certain feeling and the required knowledge to recognize these goods as waste. These people are not aware of the fact that this waste presents an environmental problem and hazard.

The project at hand will summarize and analyze the waste problem. On the basis of this problem analysis, solutions will be prepared dealing with two different aspects of this issue, i.e. waste management and environmental science. The finished overall concept will deal with these two issues. By combining waste management and environment protection, it is planned to make people aware of the project, help them understand the underlying problem and simplify integrating the people into this project.

The waste-specific aspect of this concept will focus on the waste situation within the village. When doing this, the waste situation and the waste and consumer behaviour of the people will be analysed. This analysis is to deal with the waste produced according to type of waste, its occurrence and its actual disposal and use. The data gathered during this analysis are to serve as a basis for elaborating a waste concept which is to demonstrate possibilities for prevention, use and disposal and propose strategies for implementation as for a example within the framework of a collection system.

The environment-scientific aspect is to begin with the local people, in workshops and in lessons in school and deal with the missing environmental consciousness and the lacking knowledge regarding the waste produced. When doing this, social strategies are to be developed and implemented, letting the local people take part in the realization of this project and offer them the possibility to put the waste system introduced into practice on their own. The aim of problem-oriented environment formation it to make people aware of the waste produced by them. Jointly, perspectives for acting are to be established since the people know their needs and way of living and are familiar with the regional conditions throughout all seasons.

Furthermore, possibilities to expand the concept to the whole of the Zanskar Valley or using the concept in similar regions are to be taken into consideration and assessed. One of the aims of the project is to distribute the concept developed and its implementation on-site in this region as an example for handling the waste problems and make the people aware of this topic.