Disheartened by what she saw each time she walked out her door, Khadija began to think of how she could tackle the issue of waste management in Kabul. "I didn’t want to be one of those people who looks at the problem and wishes or hopes that something could be done. I didn’t want to keep complaining about these issues, I wanted to solve it." As a result, the compost project came to life in the summer of 2019 with plans for further development and expansion in the coming years. Khadija writes about her summer project and her plans for the future:
It is 2019 and Afghanistan doesn’t have a waste management system.
According to my research a lot of the government, big companies, and corporations are mainly concerned about collecting garbage and waste from the streets. People throw garbage in the street because there are barely garbage bins, but also because they don’t believe it will change anything.
It always bothered me to go out of my house and see a pile of garbage in the street. It bothered me to know that the garbage is being burned or buried. It bothered me that nothing was being done to reduce solid waste, or to recycle the water bottles. I didn’t want to be one of those people who look at the problem and wishes or hopes that something could be done. I didn’t want to keep complaining about these issues, I wanted to solve it. I wanted to think of ways that I could help build a waste management system in Kabul and expand that to the whole country.
Also, if we want to save our planet from global warming we must take action. Composting, recycling, reducing, reusing, and planting are ways we can help restore our mother earth. This summer I thought I could use one of these options to address the issue of climate change and waste management in Afghanistan.
With their cooperation, I decided to install a compost system at the Mazan International school in Afghanistan. For change to come we need our younger generation to be passionate about the topics and issues, we care about. Doing such a project at a school is one of the many ways we can plant the seed of compassion in our younger generation's hearts.
I started my project by researching about the compost system in Afghanistan.
I was unable to find a lot of information about composting in Afghanistan, so I thought the best way to approach this would be to talk to an agriculture professor from Kabul University. Luckily Nasir Jan, AGFAF’s representative in Afghanistan, got me in touch with Dr. Mohammad Daud Haidari. I went to his cucumber farm and learned about the different ways farmers compost. I decided I wanted to go with worm composting since it was more appropriate for a school environment. However, as I am expanding my project I would like to try the natural way of composting or bacterial composting.
I am hoping to expand this project to restaurants and big universities as the public schools don’t generate solid waste. Students don’t eat their meals at the school, expect students in boarding schools, but there are not many of them in Afghanistan. I am thinking of installing a compost system at Kabul University for the coming year so the agriculture students can experiment on it, but also the waste from the restaurants and the university cafeteria go there.
Thinking about expanding my project and building a waste management system in Afghanistan does make me overwhelmed, but it also makes me feel hopeful. I know that I am capable of doing it because I have the support of my family, my friends, AGFAF and most importantly myself. If I don't give up, I will succeed. I think one thing I learned from this project was that my people are more supportive than I thought. Every single person involved in my project helped and supported me in their own ways. They believed in me and what I am doing and I will never fail them.
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