Yasir Bin Taiyab
Technical Manager, Green Mountains, UAE
I am always curious to learn more about waste management practices from all over the world. For this reason, I keep visiting ISWA or other such programs. Having heard about American landfills and their sustainable solution. Thus, the SWIS program at UTA was an obvious choice. I registered myself in 2019 but missed my VISA appointment at the US embassy and could not attend. Later COVID postponed everything but luckily 2023 winter school was conducted in summer, and I got my chance.
SWIS team, led by Dr Hossain, have great organizational skills. They worked on minor details from pick up at the airport to planning for stay, to logistics, to program courses. It had a mix of all, from theory classes, site visit, industry experts, municipalities, financer, new research and can’t forget the social excursions and siightseeing.
The best part was meeting participants from 19 different countries, from different work groups like students, regulators, businessman, researchers, and NGO etc. Such a congregational event gives you altogether a new perspective. Working in corporate setup, I am not accustomed to understanding how scientists, academicians or NGO staff would approach the same problem. How the same challenges are handled in different countries. It helped me expand my horizon of ideas and solutions.
Ms. Brenda, Dr Hossain, and other experts gave excellent and engaging presentations. Each session was followed by a QA session, some exercises. There were many case studies but some like COVID19 plastic growth and Plastic Pins in road maintenance left a permanent impression on me. There were some good engineering stuffs like HELP and Landgem Model, was a little over the top for me but good to learn how models are used in estimation of emissions.
Although I have been working in the industry for a long time, SWIS excursions gave me opportunities to physically perform waste charterisation, drive a compactor, dozer, and dumper etc. Visiting fully operational LFG energy plant at Garland. Listening to owners and engineers about efficiency and opportunities that lie ahead for such plants.
The daily 4-minute presentations helped us exercise what we learned and share our thoughts. The Project presentation gave us an opportunity to develop an integrated waste management plan for Mexico City. A totally new region, with different waste characterisation and public behaviour. It helped us research and apply our learning.
No matter how good our learning experiences were, it cannot exceed the fun of social interactions at winter school. Dr Hossain, my SWIS team leaders Niloy Gupta, experts and participants reminded me of my college days. Staying at the same hotel, meeting them every evening to go out for shopping, dinner, sport, or project work, whatever that maybe it was sheer fun. The Gala night with cultural dresses, dinner, and awards …. ended a beautiful 2-weeks journey. I can feel the pain of most of the younger folks who I believe enjoyed more than me.
Like every good journey ours ended today but the memories will remain. All our smiles are captured in millions of pictures shot by the SWIS photographer gang.
Until we meet again, maybe in Oman. Good bye and good luck, folks!