Composting is on Georgia Dawood’s mind. The Grade Seven student at St. Jude Catholic Elementary School wants Champlain Township to begin a municipal composting program for residents.
Dawood attended the Champlain council meeting on September 10 and asked council to strongly consider implementing a program.
One of the benefits of composting, according to Dawood, is that it reduces greenhouse gasses, especially methane and nitrous oxide, which are more harmful than carbon dioxide. Those gases develop in the ground when trash in landfill sites cannot decompose. Landfill sites also create leachate which can affect water quality.
Dawood explained that other municipalities have composting programs and that Champlain is one of the 25 per cent of Ontario municipalities which does not have a composting program.
“I believe it is not that difficult to compost,” Dawood said to council, adding that if 12-year-old can do it, so can adults.
She acknowledged there will be a financial cost for the township if it decides to have a composting program.
Mayor Normand Riopel thanked Dawood for her commitment and willingness to discuss composting with council.
In an interview at her family’s home in L’Orignal, Dawood said she began composting in May 2019 at home after a trip to Vancouver where she saw a plastic bottle floating in the Pacific Ocean and decided she needed to do something for the environment, but her interest in preserving the natural world goes back to when she was five years old.
“I wish I could go back in time,” said referring to more than 200 years ago when the world was less mechanized and there was less pollution.
“I honestly can’t see why anybody would turn it down,” Dawood said about her request that Champlain Township begin a composting program.
The composter Dawood has in her yard is a rotating model with a crank on the side that allows it to be spun around so materials can mix properly. Georgia’s father, George, purchased it when she decided to begin composting. The composter has two compartments for materials to be placed in. One when compartment is full, Georgia begins filling another. Once the material has completely decomposed into a gooey, thick, black (and smelly!) new soil, it is ready to be mixed in with existing soil in the garden.
Georgia has tried to encourage interest in environmental conservation at her school. She is part of the St-Jude School Eco Club and last year began her own composting project on the school grounds. However, the friends who were helping her with it have moved onto other schools this year, but she is hoping other students and teachers will help her to continue composting at the school.