Thursday, September 22, 2011

Making a difference

There is no denying that Egypt is changing. Every day there are new laws enacted, old ones revoked, new reasons for people to complain.

And boy do they complain.

But the extent of vocal outrage seems limited to coffee shop discussions and online debates. Arguing on the Internet as of late has become the new fad in Egypt. Everyone has an opinion, and everyone is passionate about voicing that opinion. I am not immune to this.

But I have to ask, with so many people so riled up about changes going on in their country, why aren't we seeing more people out there actually trying to make a difference?

The answer, it seems, is that people will talk big when sitting behind a computer screen. Petitions will fly, be signed, and shared. People will write miles of text about how they would make a difference, yet they never do. This mentality saddens me; obviously the passion is there and existing, but people lack the drive (or motivation?) to apply this passion in real life.

When you have activists or organizations that do try to apply these practices in real life, dig a little deeper under the surface and you'll realise that much of it is a farce. I won't go into specifics; suffice to say that many organizations in Egypt that appear to be working for a greater good only care about that appearance. In terms of practical applications...well it leaves much to be desired. More on that later.

So here is my suggestion. Hurghada has already seen the huge impact that can be had by an organization such as HEPCA. But HEPCA cannot do it alone. Not only that, the bins that they place are for rubbish only.

We need recycling.

I recently went to visit Asyro recycling down the road from me. I was stunned with the reaction that I was met by.

I met with the owner and GM of the company. I brought in one big rubbish bag full of empty bottles, tins, and cardboard. He actually told me that he would "do me the favour" this time, but that next time it just wouldn't be worth it. I beg your pardon?

Yes. That's right. It wouldn't be worth it. He proceeded to tell me that he has already set up a few deals with some hotels around here. That it costs him x amount of money to recycle these, and he gets y amount in profit. Essentially, I wasn't bringing him enough recycling to make a massive profit. Last I checked buddy, recycling is intended to help save the planet, not pad your pockets! 

I'm sure that my sentiments are reflected by many of the ex-pats living in Hurghada. I don't want to recycle for the profit. I want to recycle to know that I'm helping to reduce my carbon footprint.

The cost of one of HEPCAs bins is 50 LE (less than 10 dollars). I am proposing the following, and I encourage everyone that is genuinely interested in doing this to please use the "contact me" button above.

Together, we pool our resources and invest in a number of these bins, and designate them as bins for recycling. These bins are then taken into the neighbourhoods throughout Hurghada. I know that in my neighbourhood, the many bowabs would be more than willing to chip in and help with this project, meaning if you leave your trash in your building for pick up - designate one bag as "recycling" to ensure it goes into the correct bin.

Once weekly, we can have a round up of the bins. To begin with, this is going to require the assistance of volunteers. Hopefully when the project gains momentum, this will be a step that can be resolved later on down the line.

All proceeds from the recycling can go to two places. 1 - invest in more recycling bins for more areas in Hurghada / provisions needed to collect the bins. AND 2 - all proceeds will go to charities throughout Hurghada, be it orphanages, or NGOs, or community programmes, etc.

In doing so, not only would we be reducing our carbon footprint, we would be helping to make the lives of those around us better too. Does it get better than that?

Please, if you are interested use the "contact me" button above. I want to get a team of committed individuals together who are ready and willing to really try to make a difference. 

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