Beat Plastic Pollution – Amref Health Africa in Ethiopia’s Initiative on the Move

by Amref Health Africa

As we are marking this year’s World Environment Day with a theme ‘Beat Plastic Pollution’, Amref Health Africa through its water and sanitation (WASH) program is initiating a new intervention that turns plastic waste, one of the biggest environmental challenges, to a business opportunity for youth income generating groups in the Akaki and Yeka sub-cities in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. The core idea of this ‘Beat Plastic Pollution’ initiative is to reduce plastic waste by using them as resources for production of different materials that can help young people earn money.

It is evident that the change in the lifestyle of the residents of Addis Ababa has significantly increased the consumption of different plastic products. This has already generated massive plastic waste in the city. Until recently, plastic waste was disposed of mixed in with household, construction and other waste, until recycling small scale enterprises were established and began to use the waste as resources. The commencement of plastic waste recycling has now created a value chain by bringing the generators, collectors, and the recyclers into one circle.

Amref Health Africa in Ethiopia, as part of its intervention to support solid waste management in the slums of Addis Ababa, brought together young people to engage in income generating activities, one of which is collecting solid waste, including thrown away plastics, and sending out to disposal sites. Now in collaboration with Addis Ababa Waste Management offices, Amref Health Africa in Ethiopia has set up a new initiative to support three income generating groups: Eshetaol Cleansing Service Association, Enimer Betsidat Yederek Koshasha Masweged Sira, and Askual Sanitary Work Cooperative Society, to collect the plastics and turn them into income generating business.

Piles of garbage on the city landfill  

In this current initiative, the plastics collected will be crushed, recycled and be used to produce different products like electric conduits. Plastic bottles in particular will be crushed and exported for textile factories abroad. This intervention of Amref Health Africa in Ethiopia is born out of the concern that plastics, which are not decomposable, are increasingly harming the environment despite being properly dumped into landfills.

Through provision of start-up grants (seed money) for income generating groups for the purchase of small scale machineries and safety materials (gloves, safety cloth, safety shoes and rolling out trainings on safety and occupational hazard, Amref Health Africa is enthusiastically supporting the efforts of beating plastic pollution, and is hoping positive outcomes of the intervention in the years to come.


Written by Kenaw Gebreselassie, Communications Manager, Amref Health Africa in Ethiopia. 5 June 2018 

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