A new sustainable waste management initiative has recently been launched in Mali. "R'Plast", a call for projects dealing with the recycling of plastic bottles. The aim of this competition, open to everyone in Mali and the rest of the world, is to create a circular economy around plastic waste, which is produced at a rate of 17,000 tonnes per year in Bamako, the Malian capital alone.
The fight against plastic waste pollution in Mali has begun. In this Sahelian country in West Africa, several initiatives are multiplying in order to put an end to the problem of end-of-life plastics discarded in the environment. The latest of these initiatives was launched on March 20, 2020, in the capital, Bamako.
It is the project called “R’Plast”; the call for projects focuses on recycling techniques for plastic bottles that can be implemented in Mali. “Plastic bottles of water and juice have multiple lives in Mali. In addition to their initial life, the bottles are used three or four times for water, oil, fuel and end up in the short or medium term in gutters, garbage cans and, unfortunately, also in the river,” said Béatrice Roby, the project director.
The “R’Plast” competition is open to anyone, without age limits, in Mali and the rest of the world. When the project was launched, a website was also set up (www.rplast.org) to collect all entries by April 20, 2020. The ten best projects will be presented on the 15th of June 2020, before being reviewed again by Malian and European waste treatment experts. The first three winners will receive funding of 17.5 million CFA francs, or around 27,000 euros, broken down as follows: the first will receive 10 million CFA francs, or almost 15,000 euros, the second will receive 5 million CFA francs, or almost 8,000 euros, and the third will receive 2.5 million CFA francs, or almost 4,000 euros.
A circular economy based on plastic bottles
The competition is organised by the Malian Branch of Junior Chamber International (JCI), a global community of young active citizens, aged 18 to 40, who work for positive change through sustainable development projects.
The funding allocated to the authors of the three best projects should enable them to put their ideas into practice. “R’Plast” was born from the will of Malian industrialists, who wish to see the reduction of waste in Mali and more particularly plastic waste, through the development of a circular economy.
This competition comes in the wake of the “Kamatari Prize for Environmental Protection” launched in Bamako on October 22, 2019. It involves a jackpot of about 152,000 euros, or 100 million CFA francs, to encourage people who have distinguished themselves in the collection of plastic waste during the year 2020, in the ten communes of the district of Bamako.
The fight against plastic waste is justified by the high nuisance capacity of this type of waste in nature. Thrown around after use, plastic packaging could, according to scientists, take nearly 200 years to decompose. It is therefore a long-term cause of pollution, posing a real danger to flora and fauna, not to mention the way in which plastics clog up sanitation facilities and thus cause floods and epidemics.