One of the biggest challenges that have engaged the attention of policymakers, politicians, governments, and stakeholders is plastic waste management. Each day, tons of waste are generated globally, with some ending up in the oceans, thereby affecting aquatic lives.
The challenge is more pronounced in developing countries or third-world states. Although several initiatives have been rolled out by African governments to deal with the menace of plastic waste, the problem persists.
For instance, in Ghana, the government recently imposed a one percent sanitation levy in order to generate revenue to deal with sanitation in the capital city, Accra, and across the country. At the micro-level, several individuals have also taken initiatives to deal with the plastic waste menace by converting them into various products.
A Ghanaian entrepreneur is leading the way in the secondary usage of plastic waste. Unlike many who recycle plastic waste into bags or other handy products, Nelson Boateng, who is the founder of Nelplast Ghana Ltd, uses plastics as ‘concrete’ to build roads and houses.
In an interview with Ghanaian journalists Portia Gabor, Boateng revealed that he used some 13,400 kilos of plastic waste collected from gutters and beaches in the country to build a house. Indeed, it is regarded as the first house to be constructed using plastic waste in Ghana.
The 36-year-old began the initiative between 2015 and 2016 when there was fierce media debate on the need to ban plastic waste so as to make the city clean. “When the government was trying to say let’s ban plastic and I also heard the news that plastic is choking gutters, causing flood, deaths and other things, I also felt very bad,” he said.
Driven by the motivation to preserve the environment, Nelson came up with an idea that would be more sustainable and usable in such a way that it will not cause further pollution.
He set up a bricks manufacturing center that converts plastic waste into blocks for building. The bricks, Nelson explained, are not made with mortar and have the ability to withstand earthquakes or tremors. According to him, the plastic blocks could also be used as foundation bricks in waterlogging or salty areas.
For those expressing fears that the building material could attract heat thereby making the room excessively hot, Nelson said you should not worry. He said the bricks are designed in such a way that they provide a cool temperature.