Thursday, March 23, 2023

An odyssey against plastic pollution and in favor of the countries of the South

How many more or less unsung heroes have jumped into the ocean in recent decades to collect discarded plastic? Some citizens are concerned about the cleanliness of their city’s beach; Other scientists are concerned about the future of corals and other marine species. These days I’ve discovered another hero, equally interested in ridding the seas of the plastic plague, but also concerned with empowering people in the countries of the South.

This makes a lot of sense if we take into account that 90% of plastic pollution is found in emerging countries. What if they had equal access to technology, knowledge and resources to fight the enemy?

This plastic odyssey is the ultimate goal of an odyssey, as its name suggests. It is a laboratory ship that set sail from the port of Marseille in the southeast of France last September to visit 30 ports in Africa and the Americas for three years to educate young people in the techniques of reduction and recycling. To be. Help Plastics and local entrepreneurs develop their ideas and turn them into businesses.

Map Of The Route That The Plastics Odyssey Ship Will Take During Its Three-Year Campaign.
Map of the route the Plastics Odyssey ship will follow during its three-year campaign.Courtesy Image

Micro enterprises that will use plastic not as a waste but as a resource and will also generate employment. And every clever and cheap innovation is released into open source so that it can be replicated elsewhere in the world. The goal is ambitious: to turn a vicious circle into a virtuous one through a global network of local initiatives. The campaign seeks to create “a huge community of recyclers” as they join more than 200 people worldwide in their projects.

is on top of this sea adventure simon bernard, a young French merchant marine officer by training, who decided to invest his efforts in the oceans. The idea came to him in 2016 during a stopover in Dakar, Senegal, where he was shocked by the amount of plastic pollution as well as the ingenuity of people to recycle and recover any kind of waste. He told himself that if recycling techniques, which are reserved for a few, were in the public domain, not only would pollution end, but many jobs would also be created.

Organization helps Cabo Verde provide solution to recycle waste washed up on the uninhabited island of Santa Luzia, threatening the existence of loggerhead turtles

Bernard fights against marine pollution and does so on dry land. To date, there have been campaigns aimed at removing as much plastic as possible from the ocean, as in the case of ocean cleanups. For Bernard, these initiatives make no sense because plastic ends up at the bottom of the oceans, cannot be accessed, or dissolves into microparticles. Scientists call this “the mystery of plastics”. It is known to exist, but we don’t know exactly where it is. What floats is only the tip of the iceberg. So it is better to take action on the ground before plastics are thrown away and end up in water.

Among the maritime experiences, there is the Shatila refugee camp in Lebanon, where an entrepreneur employs 150 youths who collect plastic waste from the camp and convert it into conduits that run electric cables. He was also shocked to learn about Egypt’s Coptic Christian community, who collect and recycle two-thirds of Cairo’s waste. They have managed to informally set up one of the most efficient waste collection and recycling systems in the world.

Stories of success and improvement have already left a mark wherever the ship sails. Plastics Odyssey works with partners on the ground to set up small turnkey containerized plastic recycling plants. In 2022, two were established in Togo and Guinea. on the west coast of Morocco, plastic odyssey Teams were trained to recycle fish waste.

The Plastic Odyssey Team Teaches Local People How To Recycle And Reduce Plastic.
The Plastic Odyssey team teaches local people how to recycle and reduce plastic.Courtesy Image

In Guinea, the organization helped a business woman upgrade her recycling center and provided solutions to recycle trash washed ashore on the uninhabited island of Santa Lucia in Cape Verde, which threatens the existence of loggerhead turtles in protected areas Is. In addition, they helped install four machines in Burkina Faso, which are used by a small recycling center run by women, which can now manufacture new items, such as tables for schools and Furniture and roofs for chairs or houses.

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