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Senegalese Students Learn Creative Recycling

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BY: CHASYN CARTER 

Senegal’s capital Dakar is 40 kilometers from a school in Keur Moussa where students are hard at work on a recycling project of making benches out of old tires and trash.

Ousmane Sow, who heads the project under French NGO, 3000 Ecomen said students now understand that waste goes in the bins and not on the ground, so as to make something useful out of it.

“At first there were no garbage bins in the school, but since we started to build those recycled benches, the school started to bring some bins. What we see as rubbish, for example when someone buys a drink, they drink and throw away the bottle. It’s not like that now, what we throw away is more valuable,” he said.

Several initiatives have been launched by authorities to fight against pollution, including a ban on plastic bags, but these attempts at pollution control have not been successful.

Senegal itself produces approximately  2 million tons of waste a year. The initiative is aimed at teaching students about waste management and recycling in their community at school.

“Yes it’s important that the school is clean because people come here and see a clean school, and that is good.
Having a clean school is good because anybody can come here to visit, to look and so the school should be clean,” said  Oureye Diakhate, one student working on the recycling project,

Seven benches have been built as of now at the Keur Moussa Secondary School, and teachers say more awareness is now coming about from students about keeping the school clean and organizing waste.

The tires are filled first with non-biodegradable waste and some dirt, the students using this to form a strong, solid base.  waste and sand, they are wrapped with a wire mesh and covered in a mixture of cement and water, then left to dry.

Once waste and sand fill up the tires, they are wrapped with a wire mesh and covered in a cement and water mixture, then being left to dry.

“It allowed us to pick up waste and recycle, which is already a first step towards improving the school’s environment because all the bags and empty bottles that were lying around were picked up, put inside the tyres, compacted, and that really enabled us to clean the environment around us,” said Keur Moussa Secondary School supervisor, Anis Seck.

3000 Ecomen has completed over 50 projects by building benches in school yards and other common areas. More than 16,000 tires and 17,000 tons of waste have been recycled and transformed by the organisation’s projects in Senegal alone.

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