In the African continent, plastic represents a huge problem: in rural areas it ends up in the soil and in urban areas, where garbage collection is incomplete, plastic ends up on the streets, in the ducts and in the rivers. At best, plastic is accumulated in dumpsites. But 90% of rubbish doesn’t make it to dumps and is left to rot in communities or burned in acrid bonfires; the UN estimates only 10% of garbage makes it to the dumps in Africa.
Most African countries don’t have proper incinerators, so open burning of plastics is often practiced in Africa. Igniting charcoal for cooking with plastic bags is another common practice in the villages and town. Highly damaging vapors and smoke are therefore inhaled by the inhabitants and their neighbors.
Plastic takes over 1’000 years to degrade. It doesn’t biodegrade, it photo degrades. The plastic is broken into smaller and smaller toxic particles by the sun. Land, air, and water are polluted by toxic waste released by the degradation. Animals eat or inhale hundreds of thousands of plastic bags each year. Over a 3 year period, over 100’000 animals were killed by strangulation and suffocation.
Plastic consumption in Africa is on average 16 kg per capita per year. There is very little plastic recycling in Africa. Since labor is relatively very cheap, plastic collection and recycling would be very convenient.
For all these reasons, we at CRiPSI have decided to build recycling plants in Africa. The most interesting countries, where CRiPSI has contacts are: Benin, Ghana, Egypt, Togo, Guinea Bissau, Guinea Conakry, Cameroon, Angola, Senegal, Ethiopia.