Recently, I paid a visit to Mr John Macharia, a young Kenyan in Eldoret. He ekes his living from plastic waste. He visits dumpsites to collect plastic waste and adds value to it at home through making the following items: 1. Solar water heaters 2. Picture frames 3. Flower vases 4. Incubators 5. Furniture 6. Tiles 7. Carvings 8. Knock down shelves and stool 9. Ice box 10. Cabro blocks 11. Beads 12. Wall plaques He does this using very affordable technology as can be seen from this short video. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vvEvOVoqzAY You can read more details of his work from this link http://www.the-star.co.ke/news/article-171083/how-villager-turns-plastic-waste-artificial-limbs
Looking at the money bit of this activity where one collects waste that is readily available and free and quickly turns it to wealth at home, it is easy to conclude that this should be a viable job creation venture for the youth. I don’t discredit this investment but it is important to consider environmental aspects of this activity.
It is important to note that burning plastics in the open is dangerous since it releases toxic fumes containing dioxins and furans which are carcinogenic and also responsible for respiratory diseases. Dioxin is associated with birth defects. Dioxin can be inhaled directly or deposited on soil, water and crops where it gets access to the food chain.
The plastics should be burnt in a chamber with temperatures above 982 degrees Celsius to denature the toxic gases.
Burning of plastics or polyninyl chrolide (PVCs) produces hydrogen chloride gas which mixes with moisture to form hydrochloric acid. If inhaled in our lungs, the fluid buildup could cause ulceration of the respiratory tract.
Lesson learnt Most times, we complain about unemployment. Most youths idle in urban centres doing nothing, just gossiping and planning evil. Why should one just complain about joblessness while there is a lot of solid waste wealth lying out there? After watching what Mr Macharia has done, please proceed and do something too. It will add a smile to somebody.