Somalis turn a profit by transforming their scrap plastic

By Abdirahman Hussein and Feisal Omar MOGADISHU (Reuters) - As the rubbish built up on the rubble of Mogadishu's wrecked streets, Ahmed Abdullah saw a business opportunity. He recruited a team of workers - many of them refugees from Somalia's long conflict - and sent them out to collect plastic bags, bottles and wrappers to turn into roof tiles and other recycled goods. 'They cannot break, you see,' Abdullah said has he threw some of his tiles onto the floor to show their strength

Reuters January 23, 2019 07:05:55 IST
Somalis turn a profit by transforming their scrap plastic

Somalis turn a profit by transforming their scrap plastic

By Abdirahman Hussein and Feisal Omar

MOGADISHU (Reuters) - As the rubbish built up on the rubble of Mogadishu's wrecked streets, Ahmed Abdullah saw a business opportunity.

He recruited a team of workers - many of them refugees from Somalia's long conflict - and sent them out to collect plastic bags, bottles and wrappers to turn into roof tiles and other recycled goods.

"They cannot break, you see," Abdullah said has he threw some of his tiles onto the floor to show their strength. "They are made of the recycled plastics and soil."

Years of fierce fighting in the coastal city have destroyed its infrastructure and left the surviving buildings pocked with bullet holes.

The cash-strapped government is struggling to control a vast, divided country where Islamist militants from the al Qaeda-linked al Shabaab group still launch regular attacks on the capital.

Regular rubbish collection is way down the state's list of priorities.

"A lot of rubbish like plastics, paper bags ... are thrown outside the city," said Abdullah. When the piles get too big, he added, people start dumping it in the ocean.

So, in June 2018, he and others founded their company, Green Plastic.

Muslimo Aden Ali said he gets paid 3,000 Somali shillings ($0.18) for every kg of waste he brings in.

"We carry the rubbish on our heads and backs. It is a nice job. We survive on this," he said.

Maryan Abdullahi, a 35-year-old mother displaced by fighting, said she walks more than 10 km (7 miles) a day searching for plastic.

"I cannot sleep at night because of back ache but this is the only way I can raise food for my children."

(Additional reporting by Abdi Sheikh; Writing by George Obulutsa; Editing by Andrew Heavens)

This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.

Updated Date:

TAGS:

also read

France, Germany to agree to NATO role against Islamic State - sources
| Reuters
World

France, Germany to agree to NATO role against Islamic State - sources | Reuters

By Robin Emmott and John Irish | BRUSSELS/PARIS BRUSSELS/PARIS France and Germany will agree to a U.S. plan for NATO to take a bigger role in the fight against Islamic militants at a meeting with President Donald Trump on Thursday, but insist the move is purely symbolic, four senior European diplomats said.The decision to allow the North Atlantic Treaty Organization to join the coalition against Islamic State in Syria and Iraq follows weeks of pressure on the two allies, who are wary of NATO confronting Russia in Syria and of alienating Arab countries who see NATO as pushing a pro-Western agenda."NATO as an institution will join the coalition," said one senior diplomat involved in the discussions. "The question is whether this just a symbolic gesture to the United States

China's Xi says navy should become world class
| Reuters
World

China's Xi says navy should become world class | Reuters

BEIJING Chinese President Xi Jinping on Wednesday called for greater efforts to make the country's navy a world class one, strong in operations on, below and above the surface, as it steps up its ability to project power far from its shores.China's navy has taken an increasingly prominent role in recent months, with a rising star admiral taking command, its first aircraft carrier sailing around self-ruled Taiwan and a new aircraft carrier launched last month.With President Donald Trump promising a US shipbuilding spree and unnerving Beijing with his unpredictable approach on hot button issues including Taiwan and the South and East China Seas, China is pushing to narrow the gap with the U.S. Navy.Inspecting navy headquarters, Xi said the navy should "aim for the top ranks in the world", the Defence Ministry said in a statement about his visit."Building a strong and modern navy is an important mark of a top ranking global military," the ministry paraphrased Xi as saying.