A local firm engaged in waste collection, management, and recycling – Green Cities Incorporated (GCI), is recycling wastes and turning them into valuable products such as geometric sets and rulers for students.
Plastic wastes to be recycled will include plastic bags, used jelly, soft drink and lotion containers, among others.
“Plastic waste don’t completely biodegrade which harms both animals and humans, and drastically endangers our environment,” said James K. Mulbah, executive director of GCI.
He was speaking on Saturday when he turned over special protective suits and materials to 100 youth from 10 slum communities in Monrovia and its environs who are being trained to collect the waste for the project.
The project named “Urban Youth Recycling Project,” is sponsored by the United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL).
The communities benefiting from the project include West Point, Buzzy Quarters, Doe Community, New Kru Town, Front Street and Snapper Hill. Others are Duport Road, Soniwien, Doe Community, Jacob Town and Red Light.
“Green Cities, Inc.,” Mulbah said, “serves as an example of successful cooperation between youth in communities by creating a plastic recycling value chain. The benefits of the project include cleaning-up the country and a new employment opportunity for the youth. This initiative creates income opportunities for the community through employment and waste recycling.”
Mulbah said the income generated from plastic recycling operations will help the initiative to remain operational and sustainable. In addition, other interesting objects produced from the collected waste will be sold at tourist outlets.
He said that in Kenya, plastic wastes – currently harvested free of charge in the project area – are processed and sold to recycling businesses. Local firms support the initiative through their corporate social responsibility (CSR) sponsorship activities, enabling community members to turn plastic waste into saleable commodities.
Mulbah explained that prior to the distribution of the protective materials, beneficiaries were trained in various areas to include peace building, waste management handling, leadership, and banking, among others.
“The banking training was facilitated by Access Bank where an account will be opened for each of the communities with an initial contribution deposited as seed money for the waste collection project,” Mulbah stated. “Every kilogram of plastic will earn L$25. 1,000 kg collected weekly will earn the community L$25,000 and we will be buying the waste from the community,” the GCI boss emphasized.
He said research they conducted in 2013 showed that 45 percent of organic waste contains 18 percent plastic.
“Just imagine with a population of 500,000 in Monrovia and its environs you find people drinking from plastic sacs and dumping them on the streets which have environmental implication,” he said.
Alonso Torres, UNMIL’s environmental engineer, reminded the beneficiaries that, “this is what GCI is offering you now because it is a job creation initiative that will empower you to make money and improve your livelihood and also make the environment a better place for the future generation,” Torres said.
He explained that the expansion of recycling and improvements in waste management can deliver important benefits in terms of the economic and social as well as environmental dimensions of sustainable development. He, meanwhile, promised UNMIL’s support in the implementation of the project.