Group seeks anti-plastic usage innovators



 The Afri-Plastics Challenge has launched its second strand, Creating Solutions, to seek innovators with early-stage solutions and ideas that can make a difference in Sub-Saharan Africa.

This is contained in a statement on Thursday by Ms Ayomide Ibironke of the Africa Communications Media group.

This strand, according to Ibironke, invites individuals or organisations with a new or early-stage idea that seeks to reduce or eliminate plastic usage across Sub-Saharan Africa to apply for the Afri-Plastics Challenge.

She noted that, in recent years, the demand for plastic had substantially increased in Sub-Saharan Africa with over 17 million tonnes of waste generated by the region annually.

Of this amount, she explained that only 12 per cent of plastic waste was recycled.

“While scaling plastic waste collection and recycling is crucial, it cannot solve the problem alone.

“The quantities of waste produced easily outpace the development of waste management systems, and recycling is still not an economically or technically viable option for several types of plastic.

“The Afri-Plastics Challenge aims to reduce marine plastics in Sub-Saharan African countries.

“This is by finding ways to minimise reliance on plastic, develop new ways of managing plastic waste, and/or develop new uses for plastic that has been discarded.

“This challenge is designed for innovators and entrepreneurs across the African continent,” she said.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the first strand of the Challenge, Accelerating Growth, was launched in July 2021 and is ongoing.

Ibironke said that for the second strand, Creating Solutions, 25 finalists and three winners would be selected by a panel of experienced and professional judges who would assess the entries.

She said that the applicants’ ideas would be evaluated against criteria such as innovation, empowerment of women and girls, social impact in the community and environmental impact.

The applicants’ capability to achieve success will also be considered.

NAN reports that the Afri-Plastics Challenge is funded by the Government of Canada, and delivered by Nesta Challenges.

The second strand applications close on Dec. 1.

Judges include Dr Juliette Biao Koudenoukpo, UN Environment Programme Director & Regional Representative for Africa; Matthew Haden, a solid waste management expert; and Radhia Mtonga, a Zambian social entrepreneur.

“By the end of the second strand of the Challenge, successful community-centered products and services will have demonstrated a sustainable approach to reducing the reliance on plastic that also supports the empowerment of women and girls.

“In the long-term, the development and scaling of the innovators’ solutions will encourage the creation of new, sustainable local enterprises, bringing economic opportunity to these communities and contributing to poverty reduction,” she said. (NAN)