People worldwide are offering up solutions to the issues of plastic waste. In Cameroon, Madiba & Nature are creating ecological canoes from empty plastic bottles, with the aim to promote a circular economy in Africa.
The canoe-shaped crafts are made out of empty bottles, gathered by Madiba & Nature volunteers near Cameroon’s largest city, Douala. To make the boats, empty bottles are assembled into blocks of ten and connected by a wire, so that they them move like a caterpillar. Around 1,000 plastic bottles are used to make one boat, which takes approximately one week to construct.
The brainchild of young Cameroonian, Essome Ismael, Madiba & Nature aims to reduce plastic waste in aquatic, marine, as well as urban environments in the country, which would allow for a better adaptation to climate change.
According to Essome Ismael, the boats could help not just the environment, but the local community of Kibri as well.
Local fisherman Emmanuel Japa said at first people in Kibri thought the plastic bottle boats were a joke, but it turns out the ecological canoes are strong and seaworthy – far outweighing the strength of their wooden counterparts.
Plastic bottle waste has caused clogged waterways in the small town of Kibri, which has led to flooding in the area.
Recycling is a new sector in Cameroon, and there is still a lack of knowledge and technology when it comes to recycling plastic. Essome Ismael is seeking to change that, by showing locals how to think differently about how they consume and dispose of plastic bottles.
The 27-year-old entrepreneur has started a programme in schools and for engineers to learn more about green business, and has developed an environmental awareness and education program.
Madiba & Nature also makes beds, furniture and tourist holiday homes from bottles.
Essome Ismael’s dream is to create a system that enables vulnerable people in Africa to make use of waste products to build homes.
Rosa Medea is Life & Soul Magazine’s Chief. Follow Rosa on Twitter.