Leaf season conjures up cooler days and aching muscles. But it doesn’t have to meanmountains of trash. Think of leaves as free mulch.”Why pay for pine straw when leaf mulch is free?” said Wayne McLaurin, ahorticulturist with the University of Georgia Extension Service.”When the leaves fall, the easiest way to deal with them is to run over them withyour lawn mower,” he said. “Collect them in the bagger. Then place the ground-upleaves around your shrubbery, about three inches deep. The leaves will break down overtime and produce compost.”When your plants all have a leafy blanket tucked in around their toes, turn the rest ofyour leaves into a rich soil amendment by composting.”All backyard composting techniques use the natural activity of bacteria, fungiand other soil organisms,” McLaurin said. “This decomposes organic materials andreturns them to the soil. Compost is essential to healthy gardens and landscapes.”Gardeners have been composting in backyards for generations. But myths persist thatit’s unsanitary or hard to do.”Nothing could be further from the truth,” McLaurin said.”Backyard composting can be the most economical and environmental way to manageorganic materials from the landscape,” he said. “It’s not the solution fordiverting all household organic waste. But composting much organic material at home justmakes sense.”McLaurin ticks off six benefits of backyard composting: 6. Create markets for recycled materials. Once people learn the benefits of usingcompost in their gardens, they will also buy commercial compost.”Composting at home raises awareness of recycling and waste-reduction efforts,too,” McLaurin said. “It’s a great way to start people thinking about what’s intheir garbage. It’s a hands-on introduction to recycling processes.”Once people learn to deal with the organic part of their garbage,” he said,”they get active in other waste reduction and recycling activities.”To learn more about composting, call your county Extension Service agent. 2. Save money. Every pound of organic material composted at home is a pound thatwon’t have to be processed in a central composting facility. That saves the communitymoney.Residents who compost can save money on disposal, too. They also get a free soilamendment. And improving the health of their gardens trims maintenance costs.One survey showed that backyard composting programs cost an average of $12 per ton.That compares to $32 per ton for disposal, plus collection costs. Even centralizedcomposting costs $26 per ton, plus collection costs. 5. Build community pride. Many people feel helpless in the face of environmentaland social problems. Through backyard composting, they can contribute in a positive way. 3. Improve soil and plant health and conserve water. Compost improves any soil. Itmakes soils better able to absorb and retain moisture. It cuts runoff, erosion andirrigation needs. It supplies and stores nutrients so plants need less fertilizer. And added fertilizerstays in the soil instead of running off into streams, lakes or oceans.”Plants seem to grow better with compost,” McLaurin said.4. Prevent harmful effects of leaf-burning. Burning leaves produces largeamounts of carbon monoxide and tiny particles. These particles may irritate some peopleand cause health problems. Composting is much healthier than leaf-burning. 1. Divert organic materials from landfill. More than 30 percent of current homepickup can be diverted from landfills by backyard composting. Keeping these materials athome prolongs the life of landfills. That protects the environment.
In an effort to curb fraud, graft and other forms of corruption, President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf yesterday, disclosed that her administration has submitted a “bill” before the 53rd National Legislature for the establishment of an Economic Crime and Corruption Court in Liberia.The bill, which she said would establish “Criminal Court F,” if enacted by the Legislature, would help in the fight against corruption and provide a way for the prosecution of people accused of financial malpractices.Currently there are five Criminal Courts, A, B, C, D and E.She made the assertion when she delivered her 10th Annual Address before the 53rd National Legislature in fulfilment of Article 50 of the 1986 Constitution.The Article provides that, “the President shall, on the fourth working Monday in January of each year, present the administration’s legislative program for the ensuring session, and shall once a year report to the Legislature on the state of the Republic. In presenting the economic condition of the Republic, the report shall cover expenditure as well as, income.”’She emphasized that the court is critical to the social, political and economic development of the country, and that corruption, which she described as “a vampire” was impeding the image of her administration.She admitted that her administration lacks the system to fight against corruption and prosecute those accused.“I asked that you support us in fighting the devil and uphold the principles of transparency and integrity, we all being yielding off,” President Sirleaf pleaded.Transparency International, a global corruption watchdog that has been highlighting corruption over the years, ranked Liberia the 83rd most corrupt nation in the world in its 2013 corruption perception index.Reflecting on her government’s ratification of a protocol establishing the Economic Community of West African States’ (ECOWAS) Court of Justice, Madam Sirleaf said, “I want to appreciate all of you for the ratification of a protocol establishing the ECOWAS’ Court of Justice, which our country is serving as one of its seven judges.”Citizens of ECOWAS member states can file complaints against human rights violations of state-actors at the regional Court of Justice. ECOWAS member states have decided to give the court, which exists formally since 1991 and became functional in 2001, a specific mandate in that respect.The court, which is seated in Abuja, Nigeria, rules according to the provisions of the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights. The decisions are legally binding to the ECOWAS member states.The Court has competence to rule on human rights violations through an individual complaint procedure since 2005. Particularly noteworthy is that local remedies do not need to have been exhausted, before cases are brought to the ECOWAS Court of Justice. So every victim of a human rights violation can directly appeal to the court even while the case is subject to a national proceeding. Cases may be brought before the Court by an application addressed to the Court Registry.Immediately after the President’s address, a judicial expert, told the Daily Observer that with the reported wave of corruption in the country, establishing the court should be recommended, but warned of the danger of such power being misused by corrupt characters to achieve political objectives and defeat the very purpose for which the court is established.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)