Someone was burning an enormous pile of rubbish, dumped by the river behind our house in the Democratic Republic of Congo. The smoke was thick and foul-smelling, and lasted for several days. It was not a pleasant experience! But it is one that so many people face around the world as part of everyday life.
In this edition, we look at the subject of waste – something that we all produce. But when we throw things away, how much thought do we give to where ‘away’ is? Is our waste being disposed of in a responsible way that protects rather than harms the environment? Are we and our governments doing all we can to recycle? A well-known quote in the recycling community is, ‘Waste is just a resource in the wrong place’. But how can we stop producing so much waste in the first place?
In this edition we tackle some of these tough questions. We look at how to set up a simple community waste collection service (page 14) and feature an exciting project in Pakistan that collects and recycles 90 per cent of household waste (page 8). We include advice on advocating with decision-makers about waste (pages 12–13) and hear from two inspiring ‘waste entrepreneurs’ from Haiti (page 20). And we share practical tips on organising a litter clean-up event (page 17) and making charcoal briquettes from woody waste (pages 9–11).
I am both excited and sad to say that this is my last edition of Footsteps for a while. I am expecting a baby and will be going on maternity leave soon. It has been a real honour editing Footsteps for the past three years, and I have loved hearing from many of you by post and email. I will be passing Footsteps over to Jude Collins, who is currently a trusted member of the Footsteps Editorial Committee and knows the magazine well. In fact, Jude has contributed an excellent article on composting to this edition (page 15). I know you will enjoy hearing more from her.