Gazel de Klerk
ISWA Technical Coordinator
It was an overwhelming experience to be part of the ISWA-SWIS Winter School – Summer Edition 2023. I came to Texas with a curious heart and an excited self as I heard a lot of great stories about this winter school and yes, it is indeed true! I have gained in-depth knowledge about landfill management, its operations, the economics, and business opportunities that come with it. We had wonderful experience from all the lectures, group exercises and landfill visits but one thing that is without a doubt a once in a lifetime experience for me was when I was able to drive a 12-feet high dump truck in the landfill of the City of Irving. I don’t think I would ever have this kind of thrilling experience with other programs.
I owe all this amazing knowledge and experience to Dr. Sahadat Hossain, the Director of the Solid Waste Institute for Sustainability (SWIS) at the University of Texas Arlington (UTA) and to this opportunity that was bestowed to me by the ISWA Managing Director, Marc Tijhuis. Together with the team of experts such as Vance Kemler (SWIS), Brenda Haney (City of Lubbock), James Law and René Moller Rodendal (Chair and Vice-Chair, ISWA Working Group on Landfill) and the various specialists from the cities of Irving, Arlington, Grand Prairie, and Garland in Dallas. The warm accommodation of these four landfills is truly exceptional!
Biowaste Treatement and Composting Plant, Lobau
Glass Recycling Technical Tour, Vetropack, Pöchlarn
What I enjoyed the most during these two weeks was the chance to share personal experiences, professional expertise, and cultural values with all the other 23 participants from 16 countries. They made my experience more fun and memorable, while friendships and professional networks were built. The two weeks went too fast, but the memories and learnings will surely be kept and applied in our professional and personal endeavors. I would also like to give special mention to the remarkable assistance the coordinators and their whole team provided to the group. It was one of the most well-organized events I have ever experienced. I am grateful to all the people behind the success of this winter school, and this will definitely be one of the books!
I am proud to be one of the SWIS Ambassadors and I am honored to be part of ISWA!