Press Release: September 9, 2016
Media Contact: Rob Levin, 207-664-3702;
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Waste on the Wheel: A Recycling Journey Through Northern Lebanon

BAR HARBOR — The creators of the first municipal recycling program in the country of Lebanon will share stories about their project at College of the Atlantic’s Human Ecology Forum on Tuesday, Sept. 20. The event takes place at McCormick Lecture Hall at 4:10 p.m., and is free and open to the public.

COA students Anđela Rončević ’19 and Moni Ayoub ’19 received a $10,000 Projects for Peace grant from the Davis United World Scholars program in spring 2016 for their project. Long-time friends, the two students spent the summer developing the program in Ayoub’s hometown of Barsa, Lebanon, where overflowing and improperly disposed garbage has been a growing problem.

Rončević and Ayoub’s goal was to create a village-wide recycling system that would curb the massive volume of trash and model green practices for the local community. Surmounting financial and social challenges, these two students said they dedicated themselves to helping the planet and drastically improving the living conditions of an entire town.

“We gave every house or shop three labeled bins that we had made. When we didn’t enter a house they would stop us to ask for some bins or to inquire when our recycling program was going to come to their section,” Ayoub said, noting how enthusiastic locals were to see her program become part of their livelihood.

The students’ goal was to make sure the program was available to all village members, and they ensured that there was a recycling station within sight of every resident’s window. Once bins were delivered, a routine collection schedule was established in which full bins would be emptied and the contents was placed into a holding location to await transportation to recycling plants in the city of Beirut.

“Everyone and everything we were working with was from the village, including the repurposed oil barrels we used as recycling bins and the Syrian refugee workers employed to move the recycled products,” Ayoub said.

The pair describes their experience as having been completed with a deep sense of “happiness and fulfillment.” Today their project is under the supervision of the town’s municipality, but Rončević and Ayoub hope that their efforts will extend beyond Barsa to more people around Lebanon.

The Human Ecology Forum is a weekly speaker series based on the work of the academic community, which also draws on artists, poets, and political and religious leaders from around the world. Members of the public are invited to attend.

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