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Friday, April 30, 2010

Student has designs on waste in India

Waste not, want not. It is a philosophy University of Otago third year design student Ben Hawkey hopes to use in a design aimed at helping an Indian orphanage run more effectively and sustainably.

The 21-year-old will spend six months helping an orphanage in Jeypore, near the east coast of India , to manage its food, energy, water and sewage to ensure a safe, healthy living environment.

He will work on modifying existing systems and installing new ones to help the orphanage operate with increased crop and energy yields at a lower cost.

"We are looking for a solution to the disposal of their waste and effluent, and how it can be used to fertilise their crops.

"We also hope to capture and make use of the methane gas that comes off the waste and use it for cooking, heating and lighting."

Mr Hawkey said he was inspired to make the trip after attending strategic design, industrial design and design futures lectures at the university.

A family history of aid work also contributed to the decision, he said.

"This is the first time I've been able to see what I really can do with my design training. I have family involved in aid work internationally, and I have been able to explore how to take the science of design beyond academic research earlier than most. I'm very thankful for this."

Mr Hawkey said he would travel to Jeypore in June for three weeks to do some "quick research and get a feel for the place".

He would return to India at the end of the year to begin his six month stay and implement his designs.

"I'm very excited about the trip.

"It's a project I want to continue into my honours year. This is the first chance for me to see how it is done. I can see this becoming a lifelong career," he said.

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