My desire to contribute to ridding the environment of plastic wastes and also make a living out of it has led me into making good fortune, Mr Abdullahi Tsafe, a young scavenger-turned tailor in Kaduna State has said.
Tsafe told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Wednesday in Kaduna that he was now making good money from turning polythene materials into bags for plant nurseries, and equally saving the environment from the adverse effects of polythene wastes.
Tsafe who became a tailor five years ago, explained that he transformed trash to wealth through re-designing cement, rice, sugar and other polythene bags into small bags and supplied to horticulturists for plant nursery.
He said that turning the polythene bags to useful materials had helped in reducing the filth in the environment and assisted in tackling the outbreak of many diseases.
He also said that burning plastic waste was one of the main causes of air and water pollution across many states.
“Instead of burning plastics, we recycle cement bags by redesigning them locally into usable materials, valuable miniature greenhouse and providing jobs for scavengers at dumpsites and ensuring a healthy environment,’’ Tsafe said.
Tsafe, told NAN that he was collecting trash and selling to some recycling businessmen but later found out that more money could be made through recycling of plastic bags, which enabled him to generate income and be self-employed.
He said the market for flower business in Nigeria was booming and the demand for flowers to decorate the environment was on the increase, but lamented that shortage of the plastic bags for recycling was becoming a major problem that was disturbing the plastic plant bags business.
“Most of the plastic trash in the state dumpsites are usually burned due to the shortage of recycling companies in the state, and lack of support from the government to encourage the existence of companies.
“We have a lot of customers across the country, we are now beginning to have new customers from our neighbouring countries that are also in need of these bags.
“The market for plant plastic bags is expanding which requires me to train youths to assist me in designing new bags to meet up with the demand.
“Plastic bags provide an excellent tool for recycling inorganic waste in the bin and through this way our environment is safe from issues related to global warming,’’ he said.
He appealed to government, non-governmental organisations and other relevant stakeholders to double their efforts in supporting young entrepreneurs by creating enabling environment and more recycling companies so as to fight poverty and youth unemployment.
Tsafe said that the local plastic bags he was redesigning was more durable than the normal polyethylene bags because they retain moisture for the root of the plant easily, and had better use of water and nutrients.
One of his customers, Malam Ibrahim Salihu, the founder of “Teku International Farm’’, said the plant plastic bags he buys were being used on his farm for nursing flowers and little plants.
He said the plastic plant bags cost less than other rigid containers and trap moisture by turning the bag into a miniature greenhouse so that it could easily assist in maintaining the soil temperature.
Salihu said the plastic bags were ever-lasting and were easy to use in carrying products from Kaduna to other places. (NAN)