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[greenyes] Waste Reduction & Recycling on the African Continent

Motion On Polythene Bags is Approved

The Nation (Nairobi)
December 9, 2004
Posted to the web December 9, 2004

By Julius Bosire

A motion seeking Government intervention to reduce the use of polythene bags was passed. Sponsored by Kitutu Masaba MP Mwancha Okioma (Ford-P), it calls for the use of sisal products as opposed to plastic. Members urged the Government to develop the sisal sub-sector to alleviate poverty, increase job opportunities and reduce the environmental effects caused by plastics. Mr Okioma asked the Government to ban the use of plastic and make it mandatory that bags for cereals, sugar and coffee be made of sisal to contain ozone depleting substances emanating from polythene. He said polythene material was blocking sewerage systems and littering towns.

Roads minister Raila Odinga said polythene damaged to highways, since they blocked drainage systems, leading to flooding. He added that culverts were also blocked by plastic material. He said land grabbing in the country was rampant yet many Coast residents in sisal-growing areas remained landless. Mr Odinga said while the Government improved the sisal sub-sector, issues of remuneration of workers should be addressed to improve their lifestyle.

Sports assistant minister Alicen Chelaite said many domestic animals died after eating carelessly disposed of polythene material. Mr Philip Rotino (Sigor, Kanu) said there was need for civic education on the disposal of plastic material. Agriculture assistant minister Moses Akaranga said sisal production had reduced drastically in the country, with only 10 estates remaining out of 64 at independence. If revived, sisal products could be used for biogas production, animal feed, farm manure and weaving, Mr Akaranga said.

Mr Muchiri Gachara (Ndaragwa, Narc) said polythene era was with us and what ought to be addressed was its disposal.

Mr Samuel Poghisio (Kacheliba, Kanu) said while expanding the growing of sisal to arid and semi-arid areas, the Government should not interfere with activities such as pastoralism. Foreign Affairs assistant minister Mirugi Kariuki said Nakuru, once touted the cleanest town in East Africa, was now littered with plastic material and that wild animals in the Nakuru National Park died after eating polythene material.

Mr David Mwenje (Embakasi, Narc) called for the banning of use of polythene bags

Meet Hans And Anna - They Crush Bottles for a Living

New Era (Windhoek)
December 9, 2004
Posted to the web December 9, 2004

By Surihe Gaomas

BOTTLES, bottles and more bottles everywhere! This is how one would describe 29-year-old Anna Fleermuys and 42-year-old Hans Kariseb's house located in Damara location in Windhoek. Situated in the middle of Philemon Eixab Street the couple's yard was filled to the brim with empty bottles, as if the whole place is polluted with bottles of all sorts.

On this rather wet afternoon, Anna and Hans were busy crushing the heaps of bottles in a big metal drum. The crushed bottles were then placed in huge plastic sacks, loaded for export and recycling to a business in South Africa.

This is what the two local entrepreneurs call their very own "Tura Scrap Bottle" business. The idea to start the business came across Hans' mind while he was a truck driver for 18 years. Tired of working for someone else, Hans came up with the idea of becoming self-sufficient. "I asked by fiancée one day, why don't we collect bottles and make plans to sell them. Look, I'm a father of nine children so I must do more to support them and Tura Scrap Bottle was the way to go," says Hans with a smile.

Wearing a floral dress, Anna was hard at work in putting the crushed pieces of bottle into the sack. "It is hard work, but this is the way we make a living. For a job like this one needs goggles for protecting your eyes and gloves for your hands. We do not have the right equipment yet," says Anna, shifting the sack with some help from a worker.

She added that broken bottles can be a danger to the children, but they try by all means to keep them away from the risky places by fencing off the area. On this day a tractor was in the yard, hauling the tonnes of sacks onto the lorry of South African transporting company Imperial Company, parked alongside the driveway outside. One sack weighs a tonne, which means that a bakkie can become full with only one-and-a-half tonnes. Tura Scrap Bottles is registered as a small and medium business (SME) under the Ministry of Trade and Industry, since it started in February last year. At that time it began with employing only four people in the neighbourhood, while today that number has gone up to 15 employees.

Hans seems proud of his initiative that has gained popularity amongst the community in the area. "Not only are we keeping the location clean from bottles, but we also pay those people who bring in the bottles from nearby shebeens and bottle stores, so it's job creation," said the pleased owner.

Another benefit of his business is that the safety and health of the community takes top priority. Mostly it is women who come and dump the bottles in the yard and the rest of staff together with the co-owners do the work of crushing the bottles for recycling purposes. "We ourselves even pick up so many beer bottles, especially over the weekend or at the end of the month when people are at drinking places like cuca-shops," says Anna, echoing her partner's sentiments.

Although the profits are comfortable enough for Hans and his family of nine, there's a crucial need to expand their workspace."We have requested the municipality to give us a plot of land just outside Windhoek, because this place is becoming very restricted for us to work properly," said Hans.

This becomes even more pertinent when one looks at the safety of the children around the area with broken bottles everywhere. The requested erf lies just outside the city on the main road to Brakwater. However, Hans says ever since they applied for this plot this year, the Windhoek City Council has not responded to their request. Seeing that Tura Scrap Bottles has productive links with Cape-Town based Consul Glass Company, Hans and Anna now look forward to expanding their business to other towns in the country. Yet this hangs on the notion as to how soon the Windhoek Municipality would come back to him on his earlier request for a plot of land. With this in mind local entrepreneurs like Hans and Anna are hopeful that their dream to reach all four corners of the country through expansion will become a reality soon.

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