Tuesday,27 June, 2017
Current issue | Issue 1336, (16 - 22 March 2017)
Tuesday,27 June, 2017
Issue 1336, (16 - 22 March 2017)

Ahram Weekly

Cash for trash

Cairo residents will soon be making money by selling their solid waste

Garbage is sold by kilos at Cairo outlets
Garbage is sold by kilos at Cairo outlets

Cairo has started the “Sell your trash” initiative to get rid of waste and lessen garbage thrown in the streets. The Cairo governorate has adopted the initiative in cooperation with a number of NGOs and concerned authorities. Putting the plan into effect should help get rid of solid waste in a way that is safe and at the same time helps people make some money when they sell their garbage.

The project will also provide employment opportunities for youth in poorer areas, helping those with no income to earn monthly salaries. If successful, the project will go nationwide.

The idea was born a month ago by parliament members from Heliopolis district. After a thorough study, it was presented to the Cairo governor who gave it the green light immediately.

In coordination with the governorate and officials from the Cleaning and Beautifying Cairo Authority, “Sell your trash” is setting up two outlets in Cairo where people can sell their garbage. A list is hung up at the entrances to the outlets separating types of garbage, including iron, plastic and paper, and their corresponding prices. The garbage is sold by the kilogrammes.

Cairo Governor Atef Abdel-Hamid says he is positive the idea will lessen dependence on garbage collectors and garbage companies. In addition to keeping the streets clean, Abdel-Hamid said, the initiative will encourage people to sort their trash at home and keep valuable solid waste which they can sell at the outlets.

The two outlets now being set up, the governor explained, are in Ibn Sandar Square, between Zeitoun and Heliopolis districts, and Aswan Street, at Midan Al-Gamea, to serve the residents of Ezbet Al-Muslimeen district.

The outlets will be run by NGOs under the supervision of the governorate.

Abdel-Hamid said that if successful the project will make the streets clean, in addition to its economic benefits. Recycling factories find only 25 per cent of their needs of recycled materials; the plan will provide factories with the waste they need. NGOs will also employ youths who will help with the country’s unemployment problem.

To make life easier for the public, four vehicles will roam the streets of Nozha and Heliopolis, districts mostly populated with shops and kiosks. People who cannot go to the outlets will be able to sell their waste using the vehicles. Abdel-Hamid added that the location and time of the vehicles will be periodically announced.

The head of the Cleaning and Beautifying Cairo Authority Hafez Al-Said said the plan is still in its experimental phase and is financially provided for by one NGO.

Al-Said added that the initiative provides six employment opportunities at each outlet. According to the plan, there will be 20 outlets in each neighbourhood. The NGOs have decided on fixed prices for solid waste: LE6 for a kilogramme of cans, PT80 for a kilo of paper, LE1 for one kilo of cartons, and LE3 for a kilo of glass.

The recyclable waste will be sold to contractors who in turn will sell to recycling companies and factories, Al-Said explained. He added that the project will not affect the work of the garbage collector because it targets solid, not organic, waste.

CLEAN IS SAFE: The Ministry of State for Environmental Affairs has provided technical support via the General Administration for Non-Governmental Organisations for A Nation’s Renaissance Society in Imbaba to implement the initiative “Our cleanliness, our safety”.

The initiative aims to maximise the collection and use of recyclable material by dealing directly with food outlets to provide them with fresh cooking oil and buying their used oil which is used in the manufacturing of soap.

The ministry of state and A Nation’s Renaissance Society are currently training large numbers of women on the importance of making direct contact with people to persuade them of the importance of how to get rid of various types of waste safely.

Mona Kamal, head of the Environmental Affairs Authority, said that field visits are now being conducted to food outlets to educate their owners about the hazards of throwing used oils in the sewage which can damage sewage networks, and the health risks posed by boiling oil more than once. Kamal said food outlet owners welcomed participating in the initiative.

The authority is keeping in touch with organisations working in sorting solid waste to gain more experience and to better understand how the system works. The authority is also expanding its connections with solid waste contractors.

A Nation’s Renaissance Society is also delivering food items to people in return for solid waste. A system of points is used to determine the amount of food supplies in return for recyclable waste. A woman from Imbaba scored the highest with 125 points in return for LE125 worth of food items.

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