Gulf Times

Qatar Web posted: May 11, 2008


Space pioneer stresses need for recycling


By Sarmad Qazi


Most products made today are not recyclable and therefore pose a threat to the environment, the world’s first neurologist in space, Dr. Roberta Bondar said yesterday.


“We can’t expect the land around us to be clever enough technologically to degrade the products that we make. We make a Coke can, we have to recycle it. A tree is not going to recycle,” said the award-winning physician, scientist, astronaut, author and photographer.


Bondar, a Canadian is recognized for her pioneering contribution to space medicine research. Aboard the Discovery STS-42 in 1992, she conducted experiments in the shuttle’s first international microgravity laboratory.


She was in Qatar on an invitation from the College of North Atlantic – Qatar (CAN-Q). It was her second visit to the country.


Her first view Qatar was from space. “You can see Qatar jutting into the Arabian Gulf from so high up. It’s quite nice to be able to visit places that you’ve seen from space,” she said.


Bondar narrated her experience in Libya, where indigenous people would dutifully put things under the sand to get “rid of them”.


“But sand keeps getting blown away by wind which continues to uncover all the trash and hazardous waste. I have myself seen a broken down car that people buried 15 years ago in the desert.”


“None of us wants to live with garbage so I think we have to develop technology that will make manmade products break down again.”


To this end, Bondar called for a combination of both society and the government taking proactive measures.


“I don’t think you can have a government running these campaigns without a society buying into it, or a society doing it on its own without having a government help-out.”


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