Wednesday, 12 December 2007

Year ending. Are you keeping tabs?

In Malaysia, we have already celebrated Hari Raya and Deepavali and Christmas is around the corner. As with most festive occasions, canned drinks are one of the "must buy stuff" for our friends and relatives who are expected to visit.

So, I took the opportunity to show the children a news article about the efforts of Dr Therdchai Jivacate who is head of the Mobile Artificial Legs Production Unit and General-Secretary of the Prostheses Foundation, set up in 1991 under the royal patronage of the late Princess Mother. He is a prosthesis specialist, who has created joints for artificial limbs out of tabs pulled off aluminum cans. Why just the tabs and not the cans? This is because the cans take up space and will smell over time if there are any leftover liquids.

Just 3,000 pieces of tabs, which weigh up to one kilogram, will enable the organisation to make the joints of at least two artificial limbs. The idea of using the tabs and being self-reliance by getting all the materials for his artificial legs from local sources reduced the cost of production and enabled the foundation to provide them free to amputees.

Dr. Therdchai has a surplus of tabs provided by local collections throughout Thailand. So, it is not necessary for the children to collect and send them to The Prosthesis Foundation as it would be costly. But I think this is a very good example of a recycling cause for the children to learn about. I hope that this story will remind them to keep tabs in the little book they have created, of what they can do with recyclables other than sending them to the recycling centres .

Come to think of it, this can become a touchy subject if I did not get the right message across. So, just in case they have the wrong idea and their parents started complaining, then I will suggest that they be shown this slide to explain what being unsustainable is all about.

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