National, News

Juba’s plastic waste turns into cash

By William Madouk

Once considered a global environmental hazard, plastic waste has now emerged a profitable venture through “Pick and Earn” project.

The project that turns plastic waste into money making activity was launched on Friday, by Juba City Council Authority in partnership with Ministry of Environment and Forestry.

Individuals and companies in Juba City can now earn income by selling plastic waste, such as water bottles, basins, and Jerry cans, at points of sale.

The project is one of sustainable approaches plastic waste management, implemented by Plascom Company.

A kilogram of plastic waste sales at SSP 300 and a few beneficiaries who trek Juba city to rid it of the waste, testified earning up to SSP 6,000 to 10,000 per day.

Mr. Chan Stephen wakes up every day at 5:00 AM and spends about five hours to collect plastic waste under the scorching Juba sun hit to earn a living.

Chan who has embraced ardently the trade says he collects about two sacks every day.

“The money we get from collecting plastic waste really helps us in terms of food, medicine, soap, and clothes, so with this money, I can support my mother and elder brother, and Plascom really helps us a lot,” he added.

According to him, he earns sometimes SSP 5,000 to 7,000 and can go higher to SSP 9,000, adding that with this development, stealing cases will drop and at the same time contribute to keeping the city clean.

Another beneficiary, who identified herself as Ms. Rose James, a single mother whose husband was killed during the conflict, narrated how she sought to relieve her five-member family from the biting pangs of poverty.

“I am the only one taking care of the children; I am the one catering for their feeding, schooling, and everything, but now I am thankful for this [Plascom] company; it has helped us overcome challenges,” said Rose.

“Since I started collecting plastic bottles for the last three days, my children are now the happiest kids because I meet their demand now,” she continued.

Addressing the gathering during the launch of the plastic recycling project, the undersecretary in the Ministry of Environment, Joseph Africano Bartel, said the littering of plastic bottles in Juba is alarming.

“Plastic bottles and bags have littered the whole of Juba and the whole of South Sudan, and the impact of this plastic is seen when it rains; all these plastics are awash in the river,” he added. “So, these plastics go there and pollute our wetland.”

Mr. Bartel cited that according to a global study, “oceans are polluted with plastic, including our rivers, seas, and lakes, and they found that there are traces of plastic in fish and even in our animals and people.”

He revealed that they have introduced environmental fees for the companies producing and importing plastic bottles; a 500-ml bottle is charged SSP 10, and 1.5l charged SSP 20.

“So, now these companies that are producing these bottles of water and importing them for us will have to add that amount to the price of the water,” Bartel noted.

Mr. Bartel issued a stern warning against firms resisting payment of environmental fees ‘to close their business, pack and leave the country.

Meanwhile, the director of the environmental department at Juba City Council, Mr. Ladu Kenyi Kubari, said the exercise would keep the face of Juba City clean as well as offer employment opportunities for youth.

On the same note, the chairman and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Plascom Company, Peter Bior, said the idea was to address the challenge of plastic waste and preserve the environment.

Bior said Plascom company is in agreement with plastic manufactures to recycle the waste into new products.



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