We’re now halfway through implementing the plastic recycling programme in Douala, Cameroon, funded by our incredible network of supporters and match funded by the UK Government. We wanted to take this time to update you with the progress of the project and the impact that your money is making.
During our Widening the Net Appeal between May and July 2019, WasteAid supporters raised an amazing £168,000, including £80,076 of matched funding from the UK government.
The project kicked off in January 2020 with the aim of reaching 164 unemployed people in Douala, empowering them to make a positive impact on plastic pollution in the city and the Wouri Estuary. The first cohort of interns were recruited and welcomed by our commercial partner REDPLAST. They have received training in health and safety, waste collection and recycling, awareness raising and products sales.
The challenge: uncollected waste in the streets and rivers of Douala
Plastic pollution in Douala is at crisis point. Without a waste collection service, many people have no alternative than to dump their waste in the streets and riverbeds of the city.
Much of the economic activity in Douala takes place in the city’s markets. Traders bring their wares to sell at the market, and the waste accumulates at central points. Waste from the markets is comprised of food waste, a range of different types of plastic packaging and products, and even medical waste. The rotting food waste attracts flies that spread disease.
WasteAid and partners are introducing a new waste collection system
WasteAid has an agreement with the Town Hall of the 3rd Arrondissement in Douala to access the markets and establish a separate plastic waste collection programme.
Trained participants are collecting plastic waste from market stalls, streets and drainage channels, where it causes blockages and collects stagnant water, providing breeding grounds for mosquitoes that can carry malaria and dengue. They are also engaging with market vendors and visitors to raise awareness of the negative impacts of poorly managed waste and encourage waste segregation.
Preparing collected plastic for recycling
Once the collected plastic waste reaches the REDPLAST site, it is sorted and weighed, and prepared to enter the value chain. Some types of plastic can be sold to recyclers, whereas others are processed on-site to make new products like paving tiles.
Recycling heroes spotlight
“I am unemployed and have a disability, so in a difficult financial situation. I want to be useful to society. This training will help me gain knowledge to keep the environment clean and to make products from plastic waste.”
This project was funded by hundreds of WasteAid supporters, and the British government. It shows that together we can create inclusive, fair and dignified livelihoods in waste collection and recycling, keeping city streets cleaner and preventing marine plastic pollution.
If you would like to see more sustainable initiatives like this, please consider supporting WasteAid.