BAR HARBOR — The creators of the first municipal recycling program in the country of Lebanon will share stories about their project at College of the Atlantic’s Human Ecology Forum in the McCormick Lecture Hall on Tuesday, Sept. 27, at 4:10 p.m. The event is free and open to the public.
COA students Anđela Rončević ’19 and Moni Ayoub ’19 received a $10,000 Projects for Peace grant from the Davis United World Scholars program in spring 2016 for their project. Longtime friends, the two students spent the summer developing the program in Ayoub’s hometown of Barsa, Lebanon, where overflowing and improperly disposed garbage has been a growing problem.
Rončević and Ayoub’s goal was to create a village-wide recycling system that would curb the massive volume of trash and model green practices for the local community. Surmounting financial and social challenges, these two students said they dedicated themselves to helping the planet and drastically improving the living conditions of an entire town.
“We gave every house or shop three labeled bins that we had made. When we didn’t enter a house, they would stop us to ask for some bins or to inquire when our recycling program was going to come to their section,” Ayoub said, noting how enthusiastic locals were to see her program become part of their livelihood.
The students’ goal was to make sure the program was available to all village members. They ensured that there was a recycling station within sight of every resident’s window. Once bins were delivered, a routine collection schedule was established in which full bins were emptied and the contents were placed into a holding location to await transportation to recycling plants in the city of Beirut.
“Everyone and everything we were working with was from the village, including the repurposed oil barrels we used as recycling bins and the Syrian refugee workers employed to move the recycled products,” Ayoub said.
The pair described their experience as having been completed with a deep sense of “happiness and fulfillment.”
Today their project is under the supervision of the town’s municipality, but Rončević and Ayoub hope that their efforts will extend beyond Barsa to more people around Lebanon.