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Amref Health Africa in Uganda

Turning the tide on plastic “Here just in time” The power of partnerships

Plastic flows into our lives from every direction and most of it is not recycled. Instead it is incinerated or ends up in landfill, where it will sit for hundreds of years, or enters the country’s water sources where it fragments into tiny pieces to become microplastics – the environmental scourge of our times.

Many of us had assumed that government; brands and waste authorities were dealing with plastic on our behalf. But the impact of initiatives such as waste is wealth along with national beach cleaners and high-profile campaigns like the 3 Rs  ( Reduce, Recycle , Reuse)  have resulted in a collective wake-up call.

In reference to the above statements, I often describe  amref’s work as inspirational, we are more connected  to the real communities we work with, the more we inspire  them  to understand  the link between our Environment ,wellbeing  and  the important  to live in a clean and healthy environment the more they  take responsibility of their health.

As we continue to be recognized as the leader organization working with communities to create an impact in their life, we have since seen the power of partnerships.  Through our Partnerships with The Coca- cola foundation, Kampala City Authority and communities in Kawempe south division we are turning the tide on Plastics.

Plastic bottle collection center at Kawempe Ttula

Kampala generates more than 350,000 tons of solid waste every year and only half of it is collected leaving plastic clogging drains and wetlands.  However, the city’s unemployed are turning this environmental hazard into a job opportunity, beating plastic pollution is being pushed hard in Uganda’s capital.

Basing on this, Amref Health Africa has  supported  communities in urban slum areas of Kawempe South division to set up  plastic collection shades, trained  them on how to collect, sort and store  these  plastic including  bottles.

The new re-cycling plant that Coca- cola bottling company has set up, has motivated the communities to swing into action because they are able to earn a living from collection and selling of their plastic waste to The Coco- cola re-cycling plant. In addition to this, women and girls in these communities are utilizing the other polythen waste to make crafts for sale in an effort to clean up non-biodegradable waste.

Different groups supported by Amref show casing their products to the Amref Health Africa Human Resources Director and Managers from across our Africa based office giving them an excellent insight into the thinking and context of recycling of bio-degradable waste.

“This job helps me pay school fees for my children, I am more Independent now.  Amref Health Africa also ensures we hold Market bazars where we sale our items to different communities in Kawempe division.  I am a very happy plastic waste collector” said Teddy, a single mother of 4 children. That is the legacy we are leaving our children and grandchildren. “Kilogram of plastic bottles costs 700= shillings and the more you collect is the more you earn” The collection centers then feed the Coca-cola recycling plant in Kyambogo.   At the coca cola plastic bottle recycling plant, it is a mind-blowing experience for no one can actually believe that a plastic bottle thrown away after sipping a soda could be put to use afterwards as a raw material that is used to manufacture wool jackets. But to anyone’s surprise, after taking you through the stages of a plastic bottle getting recycled, you would realize and appreciate the value of other people in thinking critically to create income generating and life changing projects.

Amref health Africa Human Resources Manager and Director HRM taking a walk through   piles of plastic waste at the Coca Cola plastic bottle recycling plant at Kyambogo – Kampala Uganda.

Turning the tide on Plastic is here just in time.  Let us work together to end the plastic pandemic. Now is the time to speak up, take action and demand the change you want to see in our environment. It’s time to turn the tide on plastic, and communities in Kawempe south division together with Amref Health Africa through Partnerships with The Coca- Cola Foundation and Kampala City Council Authority are showing you how you can do it.