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General News of Friday, 28 February 2014

Source: Cameroon Tribune

Laudable Initiative

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A Yaounde-based non-governmental organization is taking a lead in clearing the city of the noxious presence of plastic bottles. The littering of the city by these non-biodegradable plastics bottles and other similar substances has far-reaching economic, social and health effects. Their pile-up in rivers prevents a free flow leaving pools of standing water in which mosquitoes thrive. Those buried in the ground over the years are also making it increasingly difficult to dig out building foundations because of the huge quantities of buried plastics which also have a nefarious effect on urban gardening.

The recent initiative of RECUP Plastic, the NGO in question, seeks to collect these substances not only with the aim of improving the environment but also by providing new revenue sources for those involved in picking up the straying plastic bottles. Many idle youths in the city have found a new source of income because of the backup provided by HYSACAM, a refuse collection company and the Brasseries du Cameroun, one of the nation's main breweries.

Every 10 bottles collected are exchanged for a bottle of mineral water. Sixty bottles are exchanged for a six-bottle package of mineral water. Many youths are already into this business, a good augur that the city may soon be cleared of all these ugly heaps of dirty bottles in gutters and other waterways. RECUP Plastic intends to collect some 4.5 million plastic bottles this year; a huge quantity indeed.

Beyond improving on the environment, the NGO also intends to recycle these bottles and by so doing open up new opportunities to make fresh money from objects that have rather been a threat to the health of the people. It is also expected that in the short run, attitudes towards the treatment of plastic bottles will change not only by way of the cleaner and healthier environment the initiative will bring along, but also through the fact that the bottles can henceforth be considered as an important raw material.

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