Blanket Solutions

Today on Twitter, a discussion spontaneously occurred when @tulip_oum posted the following:

From: @Tulip_Oum
Sent: Dec 19, 2010 2:42p

18 ChiangRai’s districts declared cold-spell disaster zone, more than 260,000 still lack of blankets and winter clothing./ @news1005fm

So I replied…

From: @JackPrinya
Sent: Dec 19, 2010 2:46p

@Tulip_Oum That’s terrible, but what happens to all the blankets that are donated in previous years? Why is there a shortage every year?

And a few people responded that the donated blankets and clothing were being sold, to which I proposed:

From: @JackPrinya
Sent: Dec 19, 2010 3:15p

@f_dinkum @freakingcat @Tulip_Oum Maybe some1 should collect donated blankets at end of cold season? Clean and bring them back as needed?

And Dave posed an excellent question:

From: @daveoli
Sent: Dec 19, 2010 3:38p

@JackPrinya just a curiosity, but wonder what the carbon footprint would be to retrieve/clean/store vs making a new blanket?

My guess is reusing old blankets would have less of an environmental impact than making new ones every year.

For new blankets, you have to harvest the raw materials, spin it into yarn, dye and weave it, then transport to storage before distributing it to each village.

Recycled blankets go through the same process once, then collected, cleaned, disinfected and mended, stored, before distribution again.

I think it would likely save money as well, from what seems to have become a de facto blanket racket.

What do you think?


5 Responses to “Blanket Solutions”

  1. 1 chada
    December 19, 2010 at 10:51 am

    Great idea. Also a brave one too (in Thai society I think people are sensitive about making any comment about ‘merit making’so called).

  2. December 19, 2010 at 12:06 pm

    To be honest, the cancer of sucking in the relief’s big tit (excuse my language) is nothing new, similar situations with the floods, even the tsunami at a small scale… Etc. As if there was some pleasure on embezzling whatever can be embezzled either to benefit friends and family or themselves, someone always has to get a cut of everything… Including blankets…

  3. December 19, 2010 at 12:08 pm

    It’s a good idea Jack….but a few things to keep in mind:

    Granted, if the blankets are being sold en masse by disreputable organizations, or faux charities for a profit this is terrible and it’s be wise to seek solutions to reduce this.

    If however, a family that cannot afford a blankets on their own sell the blankets donated to them for a bit of extra cash, I don’t see that as such a terrible thing. Of course, that’s not the purpose of the original blanket donation….but hey, pragmatism here.

    Also…the new demand for blankets every year does probably create (at least a bit) some jobs and some amount of cash flow through the economy.

    Is the system *that* flawed?
    – People with extra income buy and donate blankets for merit
    – People with less means get a blanket for the cold season, and then sell it for a bit of extra money for survival when it warms up.
    – Someone with some money (ideally less than the original donator, but more than the original donatee) now gets a slighyly used blanket at a reduced cost that would have been if new.
    – This all assumes that the blankets are being re-sold by needy individuals rather than shady fake charities.

    Now…what would be REALLY cool is if an community based organization could “buy” back the blankets from the original donatees, clean them and re-sell them to generate a profit FOR that community….that’d be cool 🙂

  4. 5 tulip
    December 19, 2010 at 12:11 pm

    how do you think the process of collecting items back will be prosecuted? It would be as if we lend them blankets? And if they have other choices of totally free offer, why would they pick the one they have to return when getting new ones and sell them make more sense to them.

    I personally thought it’s a great idea, what Jack proposed. But given Thai mentality and behavior… we would spend so much time and man power explain why we want blankets back and such and such…

    There should be something can be done on how the one received blankets before, cannot get a new one in the following year or something… I don’t know.

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