Approximately 600 tonnes of plastic is disposed off in Uganda every day. The capital city, Kampala accounts for the large lump of plastic waste which is littered all over eventually ending up blocking sewage systems.
Over 50 per cent of the plastic garbage in Kampala is left uncollected blocking drainage channels, natural watercourses, manholes, and on the roadside. While some plastic wastes are collected in urban centres, for rural areas these plastics are left to decompose on their own.
Just like many other African countries, Uganda continues to struggle when it comes to managing plastic waste. Many countries have adopted recycling as a solution for managing plastic waste, but for Uganda, the idea has not sunk yet as the progress of embracing recycling has generally been slow.
One Faith Aweko, a Ugandan woman manages wastes by transforming them into beautiful, durable, sustainable and waterproof bags. She has discovered innovative ways to create the disposed of plastic bags to decent bags.
The woman who hails from Mpigi District, in Central Uganda works collaboratively with other women and together they collect and clean the disposed plastic bags.
Aweko and her team were passionate to convert the plastic waste which were are all over dirtying the environment.
“They are collecting plastic bottles around, but the polythene bags are really being left. Yet they are the most dangerous for the environment. And you find them poorly disposed. Some people even burn them, others dump it in their gardens which doesn’t lead to good agricultural production,” Aweko said.
Aweko who refers herself as a ‘waste-prenuer’ says she is okay with collecting waste since while growing up, she got used to doing it at home almost all the time since rainwater and trash often would flood her home.
The diligent woman compiles several bags then compresses it to ensure it is strong enough.
“We iron this. We have to compile 15 plastic bags of these ones to come up with a strong backpack. We have designed, our customers need designs on it, we cannot iron it as plain as it is, so we have to get these Lato milk buveera’s (polythene), or the plastics, other plastic small bags to really add in the creativity so that it looks very strong,” Aweko said.
Aweko established Reform Africa, and through it, they are providing cheap and decent bags. The team has grown to a much larger group and now sell their products all over the world.
Featured Image Courtesy: Reform Africa