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The story of this giant “Rubbish Warrior”

Please take a good look at this giant statue made completely from rubbish! 

Its creators are children (ages 6 -13) from the Lentas area and their adult helpers. As of June 13, 2015, their warrior can be seen at the rubbish collection site between Papadoyiannis and Lentas (later, it will “move” to other sites in the area).

The children made the “rubbish warrior” within the framework of the English classes sponsored by Project Pame e.V Our idea – and hope, is that the children’s giant “Rubbish Warrior” can help inspire all of us to stop for a moment and really think about what we throw away. Especially important is how we dispose of our garbage and what effects this has on our health and environment. The children’s giant Rubbish Warrior reminds us of Poseidon, the mythological Greek god and protector of the seas. (Of course we don’t mean that Poseidon is garbage – far from it!) The children’s work points out that our seas (and often our landscape and beaches, too) are literally drowning in plastic bags and bottles, tins, cigarette butts and other debris that people have thrown away.

Here you see some of the children making their statue – and the young rubbish warriors in front of their incomplete giant and holding their own “mini” rubbish warriors.

As part of their work on the “Rubbish Warriors” project, the children all went looking for a piece of trash that wasn’t where it should be (you can see their pictures and impressions of some of what they found on display with the now finished giant).

They also looked at photos like these that show what our rubbish collection sites often look like.

During the lessons held while working on this project, the children talked about what might happen to rubbish that’s not put into bins.

Here are some of the things they said: “The wind could blow it down to the beach.” “In winter, the rain takes it to the sea.” “Yuck! I don’t want to go swimming with garbage.” “And what if a fish eats it – and then I eat that fish?” One child also thought about what happens when somebody sets fire to the rubbish collection sites. “Oh no – and then I have to BREATHE garbage.” “And the burning garbage could start an even bigger fire.” “Yeah, that’s true – a big fire could spread to our house.” “Yeah, that’s awful! But what can we do?”

That’s the question that we would like all members of our community (and our many visitors) to think about. “What can we do?” Part two of “The Rubbish Warrior Story” gives you some suggestions and ideas from the children and their teachers and helpers about that question.

But first: Thank you very much for taking the time to read this and think about the question “What can we do?” And: if you see one of the young artists, congratulate them upon their beautiful – and very hard work. As their teacher, I am so proud of them, and I am sure that you are, too! 

I would also like to thank and acknowledge all the grownups who donated their time, energy and ideas to the “Rubbish Warrior” project. Without the contributions made by: Andreas, Angelika, Anita, Barbara, Cyra, Dimitra, Giorgo, Klaus, Kosta, Manoli, Martin, Paul, Petra, Sigi, Stella, Uwe, and Wilmie, this project would not have been possible. You are all stars and help prove that “one person alone can do a little, but many people working together can achieve great things.”

With kind regards,
Gina Kraft, Head Teacher, Project Pame e.V. English Courses

The Rubbish Warrior Story Part 2

Have you been thinking about the question “What can we do?” about properly disposing of our rubbish so that the collection sites remain clean – and so that our rubbish doesn’t pollute the land and sea.

It certainly looks like it, because at minimum, one week after the children’s “Rubbish Warrior” came to its first exhibit site, the rubbish collection place between Papadoyiannis and Lentas is looking MUCH better. Thank you!!!!!

Now here are 14 ideas from the children (and their teachers) to help keep the rubbish collection sites clean – and even more importantly, prevent our rubbish from filling the landscape and the sea.

  1. Always put rubbish in bags (not boxes!). Make sure the bags are closed /tied. (This is because: open bags – or paper cartons filled with rubbish stink, the rubbish spills out inside the bins or onto the ground – and then gets blown away along the road, into the river beds – and then can end up in the sea.
  2. Be especially careful when bagging glass! (An idea: collect your glass bottles and jars separately and either “double bag” them before disposal– or find a way to recycle or reuse these.) No one wants to walk on or drive over broken glass.
  3. Put bags in the bins! When the bins are full, please put your rubbish bags INSIDE the fenced areas (at sites where this is available). PLEASE: take a few extra steps and start from the “back” of the fenced area. Doing this little step leaves space for other people to bring their rubbish inside the area, too – and helps the sanitation workers when they come to collect our garbage.
  4. Get more rubbish into the bins! These photos show what the children mean: In the first one, you see the children each holding up one piece of rubbish. Then they put the seven pieces of rubbish into a rubbish bag – and as you can see, the bag is full! So please: crush plastic bottles, aluminium/metal tins and break down boxes before you bag and bin them. This simple step only costs you a little bit of time – and it REALLY works! (Crushing bottles, boxes and cans is something children really enjoy doing – so if you have children, this might be a household chore for them!)
 
 
  1. Here’s another idea: Create less rubbish! These photos show one way to do that.
    Instead of always getting plastic shopping bags that you then throw away, try reusable ones. You can also try to buy fresh vegetables and fruits that haven’t been pre-packaged in plastic bags or containers.
  1. Recycle! It is not easy to do this here (and sometimes almost impossible at the moment.) BUT: Consider collecting recyclable materials (paper, glass, plastic, aluminium cans, Styrofoam, old but still usable clothing/shoes, etc.) and taking these to collection points in Moires or Heraklion.) Perhaps we can start a pilot project and try collecting just one type of recyclable material (plastic bottles? aluminium cans?) We could sell these materials in Heraklio, for example, and use the money for community projects. (Recent prices for such: .15 cents per kilo of plastic water bottles – and .50 cent per kilo of aluminium cans.) 
    Did you know studies show that almost 30% of our rubbish is made out of organic materials (food rests and garden/tree cuttings)? So maybe you can try not putting food scraps, peelings etc. in the bins (these stink – and attract pests!) Think about trying to compost – or use leftovers to feed your own (and stray) animals – or give them to a farmer for their animals. (Maybe one day soon, we can create a community compost area!).
  2. And please: putting bags of (or loose) branches or other garden cuttings/dead leaves, etc. just take up space in the bins unnecessarily. The best solution is compositing them, but if this isn’t possible for you, alternatives are: putting these in river beds outside of the villages or collecting them and then burn them safely on a windless day (outside the villages.)
  3. And by the way: the bodies of dead animals (or parts of them) do not belong in the rubbish (or compost). Please bury or discard animal carcasses far away from the villages and the sea.
  4. Construction/building waste (concrete, floor, wall and roof tiles, old doors, windows, etc. should not be disposed of at the collection sites. Proper disposal of such is a problem that was too big for the children. Do you have ideas? (One the teachers had was: much of this kind of material can be used to help shore up dirt roads – or fill in large holes caused by winter rains.)
  5. Properly disposing of scrap metal and large household items (mattresses, appliances, furniture, etc.) is another big problem. It would be great to have an extra container for such things in the future. For now, though, can you think about another solution (instead of throwing such things in river beds, down mountainsides or piling them up outside the collection sites). It is possible to bring such items to special collection sites in Moires and Heraklion - but that takes time and effort. Ask yourself if someone else can use the item, can it be repaired – or at minimum, can you break it down into smaller pieces? Of all the difficulties we all have with what to do with our rubbish, this issues is perhaps the hardest to solve. Your ideas are welcome! (Maybe someone would like to open a second-hand shop?)
  6. Please, please, please: Don’t be tempted to set fire to rubbish collection sites. This is dangerous! Fire spreads quickly, burning garbage (especially plastic!) stinks and pollutes the air (and people’s lungs) and can destroy the few bins we have left. And as the children pointed out: an out of control fire can threatens homes, businesses and lives!
  7. Please do not throw rubbish (especially cigarette butts) out of your car or truck windows! This may keep your car clean – but litters the place that we live in. (Try keeping a small plastic bag in the vehicle and put things like plastic cups, chip packets, candy wrappers, empty cigarette packets, etc. inside this bag. At the end of your trip, close the bag and put it in a bin.) AND: USE YOUR ASHTRAYS!
  8. When you go to the beach, have a picnic or other outing, please take all your rubbish with you. And smokers: please do not leave your cigarette butts in the sand or throw them in the water. Get a “beach” ashtray – or make one from an old tin, glass or bottle filled with a bit of sand.) It takes up to two years for the end of a filter cigarette to disintegrate.)
  9. The children also learned that it is okay to pick up other people’s rubbish. When you see litter (plastic bottles, cans, paper, etc.) at the beach, along the roads, etc. think about picking up a few pieces and disposing of them properly. (One idea that has come up since our Rubbish Warrior project started is: can we organize community clean-up days? A great idea, let’s do it!)

Thank you again for taking the time to think about the question “What can we do?” The next question is: Can you (will you) try some of the suggestions above (especially numbers 1 - 4 and 10)? If you can do even one of these things, than you are on your way to becoming a rubbish warrior, too! We leave you a few more photos of the rubbish warrior, including this one of the children taking their giant “Poseidon” to the first exhibit place on Saturday 13 June 2015.

The Rubbish Warriors: Odysseus, Irini, Dimitra, Manolis, Eliza, Fiona, Jonas, Jason and Gina with “Poseidonas”.