The Environmental Coordinating Unit (ECU) has collaborated with the Dominica Solid Waste Management Corporation (DSWMC) and the JICA Alumni Association of Dominica to implement the Three R’s: reduce, reuse, recycle pilot project at the Goodwill Primary School.
The project was officially launched at the school in February this year, with the aim of teaching students how reducing, reusing and recycling waste can be good for the environment.
The project also has a composting component, which teaches young people that food does not have to be regarded as waste.
Kamil Leblanc of the Division of Agriculture has been assisting the students with the school composting project.
“The Goodwill Primary school has a school-feeding program and the children are very interested in taking care of their vegetables at the school…When we visited the school, we realized that they could have a compost unit there, so we designed a three bin structure at the school,” Leblanc said during a television interview on Wednesday, “Interestingly, we get all the material for the compost unit from the school environment.”
Leblanc explained that composting must include both nitrogen-rich (green) and carbon-rich (brown) materials.
“Composting is a process through which one has ‘greens’ and ‘browns’ which make up carbon nitrogen: the browns are the carbon and the greens are the Nitrogen. One has to get them in a balance [mixing them and layering them with soil mixed in until the pile is 3 feet high],” he explained.
“Every couple of weeks, use a garden fork or shovel to turn the pile, moving the stuff at the center of the pile to the outside and working the stuff on the outside to the center of the pile. Keep the pile moist, but not soggy” Leblanc cautioned.
He added that, “When you first turn the pile, you may see steam rising from it. This is a sign that the pile is heating up as a result of the materials in it decomposing. If you turn the pile every couple of weeks and keep it moist, you will begin to see earthworms throughout the pile and the center of the pile will turn into black, crumbly, sweet-smelling “black gold.” When you have enough finished compost in the pile to use in your garden, you shovel out the finished compost and start your next pile with any material that hadn’t fully decomposed in the previous one,” he said.
Similar projects were recently undertaken at the Alpha Centre and the Mahaut Primary school.
Leblanc said the school composting project is geared at encouraging students to undertake back yard gardening projects at their homes.
“We installed the compost project at the Goodwill Primary school to give the students the zeal so that they can create the soil, take it home and use it in their backyard gardens,” he pointed out.
As part of activities marking World Environment Day on Wednesday students of the Goodwill Primary School put on a special exhibition to showcase what they have been learning as it relates to their composting project.
The exhibition showcased how waste products can be reused.