Environmentalists turn recycled plastic paper into fencing posts

Nairobi- Kenya (PANA) -- Two Kenyan environmentalist have undertaken a unique project which they say is set to revolutionalise the waste plastic paper recycling industry and combat the wanton decimation of the country's forest cover at the same time.
Mike and Sarah Higgins of Naivasha, 100 km west of Nairobi, are recycling plastic wastes into fencing posts in the unique project, which has also raised interest among conservationists, including the official Kenya Wildlife Services.
The duo manufacture the posts using an old second hand machine they recently imported from Britain at a cost of nearly 37,000 US dollars.
The machine crushes the plastic waste papers into small particles which are then boiled at over 100 degrees Celsius and compressed into a molder which is then cooled to manufacture the posts.
The work is done at the couple's Kijabe Farm bordering Lake Naivasha and already some of the end products have been used by the Kenya Wildlife Services to build a 235-km fence around the world famous Aberdare National Park and Forest in Central Kenya.
Sarah Higgins told PANA that she and Mike undertook the project in an effort to conserve the diminishing Lake Naivasha and its catchment basin following the mushrooming of large and small-scale cut-flower farms in and around the Lake.
Activities at the farms have been of great concern to environmentalists who accuse the management of polluting the fresh water mass through chemicals used and the polythene waste from the numerous greenhouses.
It is these polythene wastes from the greenhouses supplemented by other wastes from Naivasha town and adjacent trading centres that the Higginses use in their daily activities.
"Moulds of polythene paper, a common sight in many urban centres in Kenya will cease to be an eyesore and polluter if the factory can be expanded and others put up at strategic areas all over the country," she said.
She said that presently the production capacity stood at a mere 16 posts per day and asked experts from the private and public sector to offer expertise on designing a machine with higher efficiency and capacity of producing more posts.
The posts were tested by experts and were found to be durable and of high quality, she said.
The posts are most suitable for fencing animal sanctuaries, especially those with a high concentration of elephants as they were flexible and can not be broken by the jumbos, she added.
She felt that if the factory was expanded, and others set up in strategic areas in the country, the demand for timber posts would reduce, thereby contributing to the conservation of existing forests in the country, while at the same time enhancing cleanliness in urban areas.

28 november 2001 20:57:00

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