Dump the plastic

AFRICA IS LOOKING TO TOTALLY KNOCK OUT THE USE OF PLASTICS FOR PACKAGING, ESPECIALLY IN THE FOOD AND DRINKS CATEGORY

Source: Facebook

Source: Facebook

I sat in a geology class very recently and my observation stunned me. They were talking about environmental hazards, and topping their list wasn’t earthquake (thankfully there are very few occurrences in Africa, some are fatal, like the one that happened in Haiti a few years ago, but Africa isn’t synonymous to earthquakes as some other continents are), tsunami, volcanic eruptions, and so on. The two highest ranking hazards up for discussion were climate change and plastic waste – this article shall focus on the latter.

The United Nations environment programme states that 95% of marine wastes are plastics and as a result has initiated a “beat the plastic pollution” initiative.

Source: Manchini.jp

Source: Manchini.jp

I didn’t know that these plastics we carry around and feel good about because of the comfort and how fancy it makes us look was causing more harm than good. Plastic waste has increasingly become a nuisance and it has attracted the attention of many governments in Africa – we want to leave the earth as healthy and as organic as we met it.

Nigeria launched the “Beat Plastic Pollution” campaign in 2018 to sensitize the populace and strengthen laws against plastic waste, however, the campaign is a continent wide initiative supported by the UN and has been embraced by several African countries such as Cameroon, Egypt, Eritrea, Ghana, Kenya, Mauritania, Morocco, Rwanda, South Africa and Tanzania have taken the lead, others, like Botswana and Ethiopia, are following suit. Africa seems to be at the fore front of this battlefield as 80% of African nations have enacted the UN initiative – globalcitizen.org.

Source: Manchini.jp

Source: Manchini.jp

So what should we do?

We should continue to do what we are doing. The third mainland bridge in Nigeria wasn’t built in a day, so we must continue to sensitize the public about the health hazards of plastic wastes, enforce laws against this epidemic, and encourage manufactures to explore other Eco-friendly options.

Grand prize at Le Monde’s 'Smart Cities Innovation Awards' comes to Nigeria

Grand prize at Le Monde’s 'Smart Cities Innovation Awards' comes to Nigeria

Bilikiss Adebiyi’s WeCyclers, a startup recycling outlet in Lagos got rewarded at this year’s “Smart Cities Innovation Award” for being innovative. WeCyclers which started operation in Lagos, last four years has been noticed by many for their great work. Bilikiss, a Trained Computer Programmer at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) thought up an idea that would save her city back at Home. Growing up in Lagos, she was fully aware of the horror that comes with rain in the city. After every rain, streets are flooded and cars may have to park and wait out the floor. This was mainly due to clogged up drainage and poor waste management.

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Dressed in Trash?

A POPULAR AMERICAN FASHION COMPANY AND A B CORP ARE PICKING PLASTIC BOTTLES OFF THE STREETS OF HAITI AND TRANSFORMING THEM INTO AMAZING FABRIC MAGIC.

Photo via inhabitat.com

Photo via inhabitat.com

Hello Nigeria, this might just be one sure way out of our waste management problem. Plastic bottles form a huge part of our solid waste and this may be the way out.

A Popular American fashion brand, Timberland is collaborating with Thread a certified B Corp to pick, collate, and recycle waste plastic bottles off the streets and canals in Haiti and recycling them into fabric. Solid waste management has been a problem to the Haitians. In 2012, the Haitian government passed a law forbidding the import of polyethylene and polystyrene in a bid to counter the menace.

Port-au-Prince, Haiti 

Port-au-Prince, Haiti 

Quite obviously, it hasn't been enforced or monitored properly. Haiti a country blessed with very rich natural beauty is losing this to waste and dirt piles littered round streets.  Parks and paths are scattered with poorly managed solid waste; blocking drains and causing heavy stench. World Bank’s 'What a waste report (2012)' predicts that waste-generation rates will most likely double over the next 20 years in lower-income countries such as Haiti.

Streets of Haiti // Photo via orderofmaltarelief.org

Streets of Haiti // Photo via orderofmaltarelief.org

Timberland x Thread’s ecofriendly project will serve as source material for the fashion brands newest collection of T-shirts, shoes, and bags which launches today. Each yard of fabric made will be tracked from bottle collection to manufacture this is to ensure total transparency from start to finish. Timberland’s new collaboration is not just saving the environment of the Haiti people is also giving many a livelihood. Over 1300 Haitians are being employed to work on the project, collecting, collating and assisting in the recycle of these bottles.