By Edmund Smith-Asante
|The schoolchildren being briefed on the premises of Cyclus Plastic Recycling Company by Mr Hayford Amponsah, Administrator of the company.|
A subsidiary of the Jospong Group of companies, Zoomlion Foundation, has sponsored 220 schoolchildren on a study tour to learn plastic waste source separation and recycling at the Cyclus Plastic Recycling Company at Elmina in the Central Region.The programme was part of measures initiated by the Zoomlion Foundation to update the knowledge and skills of schoolchildren on the subject of plastic waste management.
Beneficiaries of the sponsorship were all members of the Zoomkids Club, the flagship innovation of the foundation, who participated in a programme to source-separate plastic waste in schools in the Western Region of Ghana.
The tour participants were drawn from schools in the Sekondi/Takoradi Metropolis and the Ahanta West District in the Western Region and the trip was organised by a team of school patrons led by the Head of Environmental Sanitation for Zoomlion and the Metro School Health Education Programme (SHEP) coordinator for the Western Region.
The team also received tremendous support from the General Manager and staff of Western Waste Company.
In all, seven schools had their Zoomkids clubs and a total of 10 patrons (volunteers) participating in the study tour. They included the Naval Base Basic School, Asare Oppong International School, Sekondi Presby JHS, Kwesimintsim JHS A, NavWest Basic School, the Kwesimintim STMA JHS B and Beahu Catholic Basic schools.
During a tour of the factory, Mr Hayford Amponsah, the Administrator at Cyclus Plastic Recycling Company, educated the kids on the processes of plastic waste recycling, which he said included crushing, explaining the process as the breaking of plastic waste materials into smaller pieces.
He explained other processes as washing, the removing of dirt and silt from the crushed plastics; drying, the removal of water from the plastics to enhance processing; pelletizing, the transformation of the processed plastics into granules through the application of heat and bagging, which involved packaging of the pellets and labelling accordingly.
The administrator further emphasised the need for source separation of plastic waste, stating that most of the plastic materials which the factory received for processing were dirty and, therefore, increased the cost of washing and drying.
“However, if the plastic materials are separated in a clean state, it could eliminate excessive cleaning cost,” he said. Importance of Source Separation and Recycling Mr Amponsah stated that the end product of the recycling process was called pellets and showed the touring schoolchildren granules of green plastic materials, which he said were pellets.
He also told the kids that the pellets could easily be transformed into any form of plastic materials, such as plastic chairs, bowls, buckets, toys, among other plastic ware. He told the children that the machinery employed in the recycling process included a conveyer belt, crusher, blower, heater and pelletizer and explained the use of the machines during the field observation.
Mr Amponsah also said there were numerous environmental benefits to be derived from recycling, such as the prevention of the exploitation of natural forest for rubber, the removal of plastic garbage from the environment and the provision of employment.
Rationale behind tour According to Zoomlion Foundation, organisers of the tour, its objective was to educate the members of the Zoomkids clubs in the Western Region on the practical processes of plastic waste recycling and the proper source separation of plastic waste.
The trip was also used to sensitise the kids to the importance of plastic waste recycling as well as the applicable technology. Explaining why the children were sponsored on the tour, the coordinator of the foundation, Mrs Sarah Kyei, said, “The Zoomkids Club is the flagship project of Zoomlion Foundation. It is made up of environmental sanitation clubs operating in schools across the country.
The aim of the Zoomkids project is to facilitate the creation of social and environmental awareness and education among young people, as well as help them develop good sanitary habits. It is the belief of the foundation that if children are conscientised early on the benefits of good sanitary practices and habits, such habits will become second nature and will put them in positions where they could influence social behavioural changes in their families, schools and the larger community”.
At the end of the study, the beneficiary Zoomkids Club members and the patrons were tasked to educate their colleagues in the form of peer education in their various schools.
This story was first published by the Daily Graphic on January 26, 2016