Thursday, August 28, 2008

School Trash Bank Helps Reduce Rubbish

August 25th, 2008 by King Kong Janoi Print This Post/Page

Thailand_Rubbish_School2__web_.JPGWhat to do with rubbish is a problem every country in Asia is facing.

Burning rubbish contributes to global warming and we are running out of land to use as garbage dumps. Plastic bags cog the regions rivers killing fish and wildlife.

Reducing, Recycling, and Re-use recycling as become a urgent and immediately task for us all.

Leading the way is the Thammachote Suksalai School in Suphanburi, 200 kilometers North West of Bangkok. It’s publics run a garbage bank are earn money saving the environment.

King Kong Janoi visited the inspiring school.

Students make flowers out of used plastic bottles.

Pupils at this school in North-West Thailand are recycling champions.

On site is a garbage bank where they collect, recycle, re-use and sell rubbish.

Sunisa Suandokmai is one of the volunteers running the garbage bank.

“I am happy to work saving the environment because we can earn money recycling garbage. I have also learned from my teachers about global warming and I want to do something to stop the planet from getting hotter and hotter.”

The garbage bank was set up two years ago. Now every day before the end of school students trade rubbish.

Students collect rubbish from the school grounds or bring waste from their homes.

The waste is then separated into three groups-paper, plastic, and aluminum.

They then sell what they can to recycling collectors and use the rest to make products to sell at the market.

Over two years the school has earned more than three thousand US dollars from the project.

One of the teachers, Ampanan Mekchai says they try to recycle everything.

She says, Organic waste is made into fertilizer and sold to local farmers.

Used cooking oil is mixed together with methanol and sodium hydroxide to make bio-diesel which fuels the schools garbage truck.

“I am really happy about our work because although it’s small we are helping the country by reducing garbage and slowing climate change.”

Teacher Vannaporn Mukda calls on other schools to follow their lead.

“We want to urge other school in other province to save our world. Even though, we don’t have much budget from the government for doing this the impact of the community, the students and the environment is really significant.”

The garbage bank also buys computers and electrical appliances that are no longer functional.

Students learning mechanics practice their skills by fixing them.

They also encourage their students to reject plastic bags and across the campus, students proudly carry renewable cloth bags.

“To fight global warming we encourage students to plant trees at school and at home. We also encourage student to use public transport as much as they can. We are do not allow the student to burn the garbage and ask them to sell it at the garbage bank instead.”

Last year the school won an environmental award from Thailand’s Ministry for the environment.

Saturday, August 09, 2008

Remembering the 1988 Burmese Uprising

August 9th, 2008 by King Kong Janoi Print This Post/Page

20 years ago this week, Burmese Women and men, old and young, rich and poor, were flooding the streets – in a tide of anger against the repressive military government.

Revolution was in the air on August 8 back in 1988.

Ma Myait Myait San was a final year student at Rangoon University at the time.

“In 1988 I would say that was the birth of the human rights movement. I had never heard the word human rights. I took part with the other students because I was hoping for a life change.”

Six weeks of rallies - which became known as the 88 protests - were eventually brutally suppressed by the military.

At least 3,000 civilians were killed as the military tightened its grip on power.

On the anniversary, King Kong Janoi speaks with Aung Zaw, a student leaders who was forced to flee after their uprising failed.

“I still remember my departure when I prayed and worshipped my mom. I told her I will be back in a few months and she cried and I cried. I thought naively that I would see her again but I have not.”

He is now the editor of Irrawaddy Magazine that covers Burma from Thailand.

His greatest wish is to return home.

“I thought of if I buy air ticket here to Burma, it would only take 55 minutes to fly but I can not go home. So that is really give us a hard feeling. But the spirit of 88 continues. We have determination.”

But the military regime that has ruled the country for 46 years shows no signs of collapse, despite international condemnation and economic sanctions.

This week President Bush both delivered speeches criticising the Burmese junta.

In an exclusive Interview with Asia Calling’s partner station the Democratic Voice of Burma President Bush says the international community needs more.

“What we have to do is continue to work with members of the Security Council and explain to them that what matters most in life is the human condition. We have a lot of work to do to convince people that life can be better in Burma and it’s in their interest to make it better. China is a very important country. It’s in our common interest that Burma be peaceful but I don’t know if China will agree that Aung San Suu Kyi should be free and at the centre of the country like we do. We just have to work that much harder.”

Political analysis U Aung Naing Oo who met with President Bush argues America should take a more diplomatic approach.

“The US government should engage with Burmese military and US government should come out with pragmatic program to help the transition and to build democratic institution in Burma and to bring the military out of isolation.”

He argues that the Burmese people not the military are suffering because of the economic sanctions.

“I don’t think sanctions are effective. Sanctions have unwittingly punished the people because the military has a lot of money from the sale of oil and gas. They don’t care sanction.”

He says while fellow Asian nations like Thailand and China still trade with the military US and EU sanctions are meaningless.

Southeast Asian nations maintain a non-intervention policy with Burma.

But there have been recent moves by ASEAN to put more pressure on the military to make democratic reforms.

Many of the protests to mark the 88 revolution have focus on China.

Activists say Beijing could be the key to making the military respect human rights.

Dissidents in Rangoon though, say it is very difficult to organize mass protest now because most their leaders are in jail or hiding.

But U Aung Moe Zaw, the chairperson of the Opposition Democratic Party for a New Society remains optimistic.

“Change in our country will come from the inside. The people and our political activists are working together to achieve our goal.”

On the eve of the anniversary One of Burma’s most popular comedians was charged with several offences, after he defied the military by giving aid to the victims of Cyclone Nargis.

His relatives say Zarganar faces charges including creating public unrest and unlawful association for his aid activities during the disaster.