Senegal’s Plastic Recycling Entrepreneurship

Waste pickers searching for plastics at the main dump in Dakar, Senegal.

The article below, written by Ruth Maclean and accompanied with photographs by Finbarr O’Reilly, is a portrait in developing world green opportunism. It is not a pretty picture, per se, but it is a sight to behold after the market for recycled plastic seemed to implode in recent years. The photo above shows the gritty reality of the work. The photos below show some of the prettier, and more entrepreneurial downstream opportunities from that work:

Workers stripping reusable plastic from mats at the Sosenap factory, which recycles plastic to make mats and carpets in Diamniadio, on the outskirts of Dakar.

‘Everyone’s Looking for Plastic.’ As Waste Rises, So Does Recycling.

Plagued by plastic pollution, Senegal wants to replace pickers at the garbage dump with a formal recycling system that takes advantage of the new market for plastics.

The main event at the outdoor venue for Dakar Fashion Week in December, which had a theme of sustainability.

DAKAR, Senegal — A crowd of people holding curved metal spikes jumped on trash spilling out of a dump truck in Senegal’s biggest landfill, hacking at the garbage to find valuable plastic. Continue reading

The Grey Parrots Go Missing


These African Grey parrots were rescued from smugglers and released on Ngamba Island in Lake Victoria. The African Grey parrot is the single most heavily traded wild bird. PHOTO: CHARLES BERGMAN

These African Grey parrots were rescued from smugglers and released on Ngamba Island in Lake Victoria. The African Grey parrot is the single most heavily traded wild bird. PHOTO: CHARLES BERGMAN

In all that we write about conservation, a related tag – unfortunately – happens to be extinction. Brought about by forest loss, miscalculated development plans, social and political apathy towards ecosystems, lack of awareness – the reasons we’ve all heard of. Now, National Geographic reports on the disappearance of the ‘talking bird’:

Flocks of chattering African Grey parrots, more than a thousand flashes of red and white on grey at a time, were a common site in the deep forests of Ghana in the 1990s. But a 2016 study published in the journal Ibis reveals that these birds, in high demand around the world as pets, and once abundant in forests all over West and central Africa, have almost disappeared from Ghana. Uncannily good at mimicking human speech, the African Grey (and the similar but lesser-known Timneh parrot) is a prized companion in homes around the world. Research has shown that greys are as smart as a two-five year-old human childcapable of developing a limited vocabulary and even forming simple sentences.

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Footstep by Footstep


This solar-powered football pitch in Lagos also uses kinetic energy generated by footballers playing. PHOTO: Edelman PR

There’s a host of ingenious solar projects impacting the developing world. Energy’s role in political, social, and economic development is being highlighted more than before and being energy-smart is the blueprint to a sustainable future. Clean energy is the way forward. And Lagos has an example. In the name of soccer.

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A Case for the Wildebeest

According to the UNEP, wildebeest populations have declined in areas of southern and eastern Africa. PHOTO: Natural Habitat Adventures

The Great Migration of Serengeti National Park, designated a World Heritage Site, is legendary. The stars of this 1,200-mile odyssey are the wildebeest – 1.5 million of them – accompanied by 200,000 zebras. Every year is an endless journey for them, chasing the rains across 150,000 square miles of woodlands, hills and open plains. With them having firmly established their caliber as a species built literally for the long run, the migration spectacle should probably be the only space where the wildebeest find a mention. But conservation debates are hovering over these beasts – categorized as non-threatened by the IUCN – and looking at them as a keystone species.

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