Guest Blog: Coffee chats at Winter School

Jul 5, 2023 | ISWA blog, ISWA news, YPG

Ana Laura Tecorralco Bobadilla

Ana Laura Tecorralco Bobadilla

Masters in Environmental Science and Engineering

Where does our waste go? What are residues? These and more questions are answered by ISWA-SWIS WINTER SCHOOL. It is not about attending a conventional course of a few hours, where you will soon start to get bored or stop paying attention, on the contrary, it is a course that is very well structured, where you are shown how theory is put into practice. Is it tiring? Yes, but it is such a comprehensive waste management syllabus that I dare say I have not come across a course like it, so every moment is worth it.

We are talking about a course that provides you with a broad overview of waste management, where topics range from generation, composition, final destination in a sanitary landfill, use alternatives such as recycling, composting, obtaining biogas and its applications, as well as the social and economic factors that affect this entire system. This leads us to evaluate the current situation in our country and more specifically in our housing area. Together with an excellent team, we were tasked with identifying these factors in Mexico City, Mexico, as well as the challenges and possible solutions.

We have to talk about the quality of the speakers at the ISWA-SWIS WINTER SCHOOL 2023, MD. Sahadat Hossain, Ph.D., P.E. who immediately captures your attention with his experience, enthusiasm and fascinating way of talking about the subject, Brenda Haney and her mastery of the subject as well as her passion and that you cannot stop paying attention to her, because she explains everything so clearly that you are imagining it, Tyler Hurd who always with a big smile transmitted his passion for the subject, René Møller Rosendal and his work with the Landfill Mining. All the speakers were excellent.

Getting to know different landfills, the transfer station, a recycling plant gives you a better insight when it comes to applying the theory, so each visit to these sites is very enriching. As an engineer it was excellent to see how the design of each site avoids a massive spread of odours beyond the site, avoids infiltration into the soil and/or water, the design of each cell in the landfills. It also allows you to see the reality of the waste that is discarded daily and to be surprised by what you find.

Personally, I really like to talk to the people who operate the machinery, who separate the waste, who receive the collection trucks and more activities, so I must mention that they were all very approachable and friendly in telling me about their working conditions, what they like about being there, how they got into the waste world and even mentioning to me how much they earn. The work they do is extremely important in our daily lives.

But it’s not just about studying and visiting. Talking about waste is not a common topic at coffee time with friends, however, at Winter School it is, because your classmates share the same interest, but you meet people from different countries and after spending several hours together you talk about your personal life, what your city is like, your traditions, what you eat, an endless number of topics. It is a meeting point for a great cultural exchange and learning from them.

With some people I shared more time than with others, but we danced, we talked for a long time, we laughed non-stop, we played, in short, and days later I continue and I am sure I will continue to talk with them, so I can say that it allowed me to make new friends who live miles away from me and with whom I am anxious to meet again.

The Monday after the end of the school year, when I went back to my daily activities, I missed those 2 weeks.

My admiration and respect to the course organisers, they did an extraordinary job, their long days are to be applauded, they were always attentive to us, the hospitality with which they received us was excellent. Alinda, Niloy, Ishraq and Sehneela, thank you for everything.

ISWA-SWIS Winter School is an unforgettable experience. Thank you for everything.

Join the next edition of the ISWA-SWIS Winter School!

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