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POP Around the World: West Africa 2023

By March 1, 2023April 4th, 2023No Comments

Prevented Ocean Plastic continues to deliver on its promise to prevent plastic from reaching the oceans of Africa.

After previously visiting areas of East Africa to introduce global expertise and break ground on new infrastructure builds, Raffi Schieir, director of Bantam Materials UK and the Prevented Ocean Plastic Programme, travelled to the East of the continent in February.

The need there was as vast and vivid as Schieir had seen it anywhere. “There’s a massive environmental need, a massive social need. As we travelled from larger population centres into more rural areas, it seemed like you couldn’t move 10km in any direction without seeing very large accumulations of plastic and household waste. And layered between that, you couldn’t move 10 feet without stepping on plastic”.

Prevented Ocean Plastic ambassador Kevin Mills was also on the trip and categorised the need in the area as critical. In his words, “Plastic was literally everywhere. You couldn’t help but trip over it. At one point it was even blowing around and settling into a cemetery. The existing infrastructure is unfortunately very poor”.

What that means for Schieir though, is that significant positive changes can be made with even basic steps. “Modest collection methods, modest warehousing, and a modest elevation of standards, will go a very long way”.

And some of the right people to help Prevented Ocean Plastic make these things a reality are already operating in the region. According to Schieir, “Local recycling entrepreneurs are already making progress, and, with a little bit of alignment, they can elevate their work and continue while making an even bigger impact. Together we can turn the materials on the ground there, materials that have no perceived value, into something of value, and give it a vital second life.”

Raffi Schieir on the ground in West Africa, February 2023.

Globally, there’s an estimated $100 billion dollars of plastic laying on the ground and after seeing it first hand, Schieir is convinced that no small amount of that is on and around the coastlines of West Africa, at-risk of making its way into the ocean.

Prevented Ocean Plastic remain committed to being part of the solution in the area.

Prevented Ocean Plastic is a pioneering plastic recycling company developing locally customized sorting and collection infrastructure to underserved communities across the world. We are committed to strengthening the supply chain and scaling solutions for the management of plastic waste where we work. We provide high quality traceable recycled plastic to global markets to drive environmental, social and economic value from the bottle collector to the end consumer.