An awareness programme on Solid Waste Management was conducted by Caritas Sri Lanka – SEDEC, for all Priest and Religious of the Diocese of Badulla on November 27th, 2017. The three hour session focusing on the Caritas 3R+ Takakura methodology was held at the Bishop’s House ‘Rockhill’ Badulla under the patronage of His Lordship Rt. Rev. Dr. Winston Fernando, Bishop of Badulla. Nearly fifty Priests and Religious took part in the session. The objective of the programme, which was initiated by His Lordship Bishop Winston, was to raise the level of awareness and encourage the members of the Clergy and Religious to take responsibility for promoting an attitudinal and behavioral change within their circles of influence towards stewardship of God’s creation, mother earth. In his introductory remarks and setting the context to the reason behind this initiative, His Lordship, made reference to Pope Francis’ second encyclical ‘Laudato Si’, the first ever in Italian and which means “Praise be to you, my Lord” in which the Pope critiques consumerism and irresponsible development, laments environmental degradation and global warming, and calls all people of the world to take “swift and unified global action”. His Lordship further said that the encyclical which is subtitled “On Care for Our Common Home” is the new appeal from Pope Francis addressed to “every person living on this planet” for an inclusive dialogue about how we are shaping the future of our planet. In this backdrop, it is laudable that Caritas Sri Lanka has taken on this campaign of awareness with the blessings of the CBCSL, towards creating a responsible citizenry in overcoming the current island-wide debacle caused by mismanagement of solid waste, His Lordship concluded.

The Caritas team from the National Centre explained in detail the current scale of the problem of solid waste; the environmental pollution and degradation caused by the large scale use of plastics, polythene; the importance of practicing the concept of ‘3R’ – Reduce, Re-use and Recycle; and the critical importance of proper segregation of all types of waste at the point of waste generation in our house-holds, institutions and Churches. The informative presentation enabled the participants to learn about the effects of re-cycling and segregation as means of effective solid waste management, which must be undertaken at every level. More elaborate demonstrations on the Takakura composting method was also provided to the participants as an effective method of re-cycling organic waste generated at household and institutional levels.

The awareness session created much enthusiasm and interest among the Priests and Religious present while also inspiring them to commit to practicing the methods discovered at Parish and institutional levels within the entire diocese.