29 Jan [Social Enterprise 101] Social Enterprises in Africa try to tackle the plastic waste issue
Can you imagine the effects that plastic waste has on the environment? More and more plastics are burned or buried in the ground and most of them are not degradable in the next few hundred years. Research has shown that over 8 million tonnes of plastic waste leak from land into the sea each year. As you can see, plastic waste not only pollutes the land but also the sea.
Regarding this problem, organisations across Africa tried to tackle it. Let us take you to look at some growing efforts in Africa and get inspired.
As researchers found that over 4.4 million metric tonnes of mismanaged plastic waste in 2010, it could rise up to 10.5 million in 2025 if there is nothing to be done. As a result, different parties came up with a lot of ideas and established social enterprises or NGOs to tackle this social problem.
RED-PLAST, a volunteer group, collects around hundred tonnes of plastic waste every year. Street vendors also help to recycle the plastic bottles, refilling them with goods to sell in Cameroon. Upcycling the waste plastic is also important. Rethaka Foundation transforms them into school bags fitted with solar-powered lights. This can help children to do their homework after dark. Some also recreated them into plastic boats for fishing.
Back here in Hong Kong, Researchers found that over 5.2 million plastic bottles are thrown away every single day. Dream Impact co-hosted a beach clean up in November 2018 and we realized first hand how much plastic is washed up on the shores each day. After only 1 hour, we have already collected 12 bags full of rubbish and plastic waste. Of course, this is not a long-term solution; it just shows us how serious the plastic problem is.
Back in Dream Impact, we implement a thorough recycling system. We also provide reusable tableware for big events and discourage single-use ones. We recognize that personal small steps are vital to creating change.