WasteAid’s Widening the Net appeal has raised more than £168,000, including £80,076 of matched funding from the UK government, to help stop plastic pollution in the Cameroon estuary.
The matched funding will be used to build a plastics recycling training centre in the coastal city of Douala, Cameroon. Trainees will learn to make products from plastic waste, stopping plastic pollution in the fragile Cameroon estuary and ultimately the Atlantic Ocean.
The WasteAid training centre will seek to empower hundreds of young unemployed people to recover littered plastic and turn it into useful products like paving tiles.
International Development Secretary Alok Sharma said:
“I am delighted the UK government has matched the British public’s generous donations to WasteAid’s ‘Widening the Net’ appeal, helping to raise more than £160,000.
“This funding will help train people across Cameroon to collect and recycle plastic waste, especially in areas where rubbish is not collected, allowing them to take an active role in protecting their environment.”
WasteAid supporters were inspired by the story of Pierre Kamsouloum, WasteAid Plastic Recycling Specialist, who developed a low-tech process for turning plastic waste into paving tiles. Pierre has been teaching groups in Cameroon and The Gambia, and is now looking forward to having his own residential training centre in the coastal city of Douala.
On the announcement of how much has been raised through the UK Aid Match campaign, Pierre said:
“The plastic pollution problem often goes hand in hand with poverty. This training centre will give young people the skills to recycle their way out of poverty in the same way that I did.
“We are very grateful to everyone in the UK who supported the campaign, and to the UK government for the aid match. Now we can look forward to empowering hundreds of young unemployed people to create their own economic opportunities and prevent plastic pollution at the same time.”
The photo diary of plastic pollution in Douala, Cameroon, shows just what happens in communities around the world where there is no waste collection service. People have no option other than to burn or dump their rubbish, and much of it ends up in dry riverbeds. When the monsoon arrives, the plastic waste gets washed out to the estuary and eventually the ocean.
Zoë Lenkiewicz, Head of Programmes and Engagement of WasteAid said: “We really appreciate everyone who supported our appeal to help stop plastic pollution in ecologically fragile places like the Cameroon estuary. It is only through generosity of our supporters that we can continue to train communities around the world to manage their waste in a safe and sustainable way.”
The appeal which ran between May and July 2019 sought to highlight the need for better waste management around the world to prevent plastic pollution and climate change emissions, protect children’s health and provide dignified jobs for people in poverty.
The appeal benefited from donations from hundreds of first-time supporters of WasteAid.
Mike Webster, WasteAid CEO said: “Fundraisers at waste and recycling company Biffa really got behind the campaign and including the matched funding raised over £72,000 – an incredible achievement and a wonderful start to our Proud Partnership.
“The Walk for WasteAid was also a huge success and helped attract hundreds of first-time supporters. Thanks to everyone who joined in, organised events and sponsored their friends and family. This was a mammoth effort and we are absolutely delighted with the result.”
The project will train young unemployed people near the Cameroon estuary to recycle plastic waste into useful products, like paving tiles and roof tiles. It will give people in poverty life-long skills so they can put plastic waste to good use and help keep our oceans healthy.