University and Environment: a waste management project in Palestine

Europe; Middle East - Persian Gulf; News

The University involved children, mothers and farmers and their enthusiasm to implement a waste collection and compost system in Al Jalameh, in the governorate of Jenin.

The University of Bologna has always been mindful of the environment and this attitude also applies to international affairs. Indeed, it established a sound collaboration with the University of Jenin and the NGO Nexus Emilia-Romagna to carry out a waste management project in Al Jalameh, Palestine.

The project led to the establishment of a  pre-selection unit of recycling and a wet waste fed compost system in this village of the Jenin governorate. Jenin and its community had already ben sensitive to environmental issues such as waste disposal. As a matter of fact, before this project came into being, Jenin’s municipality had implemented a controlled landfill, supervised by local authorities. It is no secret that, in Palestine, littering and waste dumping are sources of great dangers for human and environmental health and  increase the risk of spreading illnesses and wildfires.

This project was particularly successful, in that indirectly involved local farmers in composting processes, teaching them how to obtain compost from wet waste, and how to use the resulting compost as a natural fertilizer that can elicit great results in agriculture. “Once we gained their trust, working together was easy and brought to satisfactory results”,  stated Professor Alessandra Bonoli  who is the coordinator of the project and teaches Raw Materials Engineering and Resource and Recycling at the University of Bologna.

Serendindipitously, the pilot phase of the project saw the participation of a group of primary school mothers. They organized meetings between children and the university students about recycling to raise awareness of environmental issues.

While carrying out the project, the University of Bologna adopted a collaborative approach of  mutual respect, by training the local farmers and communities in order to make them independent in their work even after the end of the project.

Indeed, this waste management system continues to be operative and farmers keep making their own fertilizer. These results ultimately show how institutions and local communities  committing to a common goal can lead to successful collaborations and outcomes.