“Collecting plastic waste does not stop at keeping the environment clean."
PIC: The Masaka diocesan bishop, John Baptist Kaggwa, and other officials watching how a machine compacts plastic waste before it is packaged to be transported to Kampala for recycling. (Credit: Eddie Ssejjoba)
Leaders in Masaka Municipality have embraced a plastic recycling project that turns plastic waste into construction and building materials.
The collection center is located at Kasijjagirwa in the outskirts of Masaka town and is one of the initiatives established to fight environmental degradation and provide an extra income and employment to the residents.
Dubbed 'Masaka Recycling Initiative', the project is set to be a collection centre for all recyclable plastic materials from the town and its suburbs, which will be transported to Kampala, where it is turned into pavers for building and construction.
Already, the project is providing extra income to over 165 collectors in the town, has created 11 fulltime jobs and has partnered with 32 people with disabilities who have set up and manage collection centres.
Most of the plastic is retrieved from the major swamps surrounding the town, including Namajjuzi in Kyabakuza, Nyendo-Nakayiba and Kimaanya-Gayaza swamp.
The municipal mayor, Godfrey Kayemba, said the council was pleased to receive such an initiative, which, he said, apart from helping to clean the town and get rid of unwanted plastic waste, would provide employment to the youth.
The project, funded by Coca Cola, is managed by Andrew Bonds in collaboration with the Parish Priest of Ssaza Parish, the Right Rev. Fr. James Ssendege and Masaka diocese.
At the centre, a machine compacts the plastics and packages them to be transported to the recycling plant in Kampala. The project gives employment priority to the disabled and street youth in the town.
The diocesan bishop, the Right Rev. John Baptist Kaggwa, appealed to residents of Masaka to embrace the project and maintain their environment by collecting all unwanted plastic materials for recycling.
He said he was pleased that mainly the youth would seize the opportunity to earn money from the many plastic wastes, especially in the swamp and the lakes, which he said affect the ecological system.
“Collecting plastic waste does not stop at keeping the environment clean - it also prevents the soils from losing fertility and become more productive. This project therefore will also help in improving our agricultural productivity,” he said.
Fr. Ssendege thanked the beverage company for their partnership, which he said would bring a difference in the lives of many residents.
Coca-Cola's public affairs officer, Maureen Kyomuhendo, assured the residents that all the plastics collected would be purchased in cash at a cost of sh500 a kilogram.
She said they will buy all types plastics in order to rid the environment of litter.