Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs

Talking Trash (production, collection, recycling and socio-environmental impacts)

October 29, 2010

Students in Watson Fellow Geri Augusto’s Science and Technology Policy in the Global South seminar, and a small group comprised of Brazilian engineering students at the State University of Bahia (UNEB), public health professionals, and a leader of one of Brazil’s largest associations of trash collectors (CAMAPET), recently explored together, via a video-conference, some of the most pressing issues arising from lixo (trash) in urban Brazil.

The Brazilian side was put together by engineer and historian of science Lazaro Cunha, whose Salvador da Bahia-based NGO, Oguntek, encourages young Afro-Brazilians, many of them from favelas, to pursue university studies in science and technology.

The electronic exchange of ideas and experiences around a critical aspect of public policy in the Global South took place for the second year in a row on October 21, during Brazil’s National Week of Science and Technology – and with interlocutors in Bahia where, says Augusto, science is not just celebrated, but increasingly interrogated and engaged by many different publics.