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Friday, January 20, 2012

New hours at the Charlestown Transfer Station

Also, an alternative recycling method from India
Some call it garbage. Others call it compost. But to some,
it's medicine.
By Will Collette
Starting this week, the Charlestown Transfer Station will be cutting its days of operation from four days to three. The new days of operation will be Monday, Thursday and Saturday from 8 AM to 4 PM. 

If these new hours cause any inconvenience, a recent report on the BBC about an unusual re-use of food waste in India might offer an alternative. 

According to the BBC, and I am not making this up, there is a century-old practice in the Karnataka State of India where low-caste Indians (Dalits, formerly called “untouchables”) roll themselves in the food waste of the upper castes, the Brahmins.

Performing the snana ritual
This ritual, called a “snana,” is supposed to cure those who roll in Brahmin refuse of skin conditions and other ailments.

The practice is drawing criticism from some religious leaders and from leaders within the Dalit community who say the ritual is demeaning. The BBC quoted Panditaradhya Shivacharya Swami: "If it can cure diseases effectively, the state government should close down all the medical colleges and hospitals."
Even though this practice is drawing fire in India, it might have its uses in Charlestown. In our sharply divided class culture in Charlestown, we have some number of residents who defend Charlestown’s elite. At the December 12 Town Council meeting, they expressed their gratitude to Charlestown’s rich for providing them with work opportunities and so many other benefits.
With shortened trash drop-off hours at the town transfer station, the detritus from our town’s upper class could start to pile up. Their servants might be tempted to dispose of that trash in bins on public lands or local businesses, or simply throw them on the roadside.
But we could change the paradigm and look at that garbage as a resource, and a healing one at that. We have a number of parcels of unused town land that turned up in Council Vice-President Dan Slattery’s quest for “phantom properties.” I’m sure there must be at least one parcel that could be used for the site of a Charlestown Snana.
As Charlestown Town Council President Tom Gentz likes to say, it’s “a win-win-win.” We do a great service to Charlestown’s 1%. We recycle food waste and keep it from being dumped along the roadside. And it’ll clear up psoriasis. This is rich food that is good for you!