Redefining The Gambia’s Plastic Recycling Infrastructure
Few years ago, the Bakoteh dumpsite was just a dumpsite, filled with all sorts of trash like plastic bottles and car parts waiting to be burned. Today, scavengers are swarming to the famous dumpsite daily looking for anything that can be recycled and one of those is plastic. Plastic waste management has increasingly become a tropical issue, especially the contamination of fresh and marine water environments. Research shows that nearly 513 million tonnes of plastic end up in the ocean every year. In Africa, countries like Egypt and Nigeria rank high as major polluters.
Alieu Sowe is an environmentalist and plastic recycling entrepreneur who gave up living in the West and returning home to fight against environmental pollution in The Gambia. Now owning and employing dozens of young Gambians to work at his plastic recycling firm, Alieu Sowe said besides being an environmentalist, he was inspired by the idea of creating job opportunities for the youths.
“The inspiration has always been one thing. To come back home and create opportunities for myself and my fellow youth. I have a lot of my family depending on me and most of them are youths. So, if I can come back home to create opportunities like these, it is like taking a burden off myself. It is one thing to open a shop and run a one-man business, but creating a company or a project which will include hundreds of people is something that inspires me,” Sowe said.