Trash to cash: fight against environmental degradation through technology

A few movies and books have portrayed grim versions of a dystopian world where a few groups of humans are forced to survive after global warming and pollution devastated human society.

Can we dismiss stories like this as far-fetched predictions of the future or do they have a grain of possibility in them as current trends testify? Regardless, pollution issues have always aroused great interest among environmentalists, activists and even world leaders.

Climate change and other environmental and aesthetic degradation have shattered our natural systems, giving rise to new deadly diseases – cases at the COVID-19 point – resulting in a collapse of the global economy.

As such, in the spirit of Earth Day, an annual celebration that took place on April 22, all inhabitants of our beautiful planet are called to #RestoreOurEarth – an appropriate theme for this year’s commemoration.

Leaders around the world are seeking to reduce pollution of all kinds – ocean, air, land, etc. In addition, organizations and initiatives continue to conduct public awareness campaigns in an effort to make the people of the earth responsible and respectable people. To say the least, rapid urbanization and economic growth have bigger implications.

In Africa, waste accumulates and spills over to start with nowhere to go, spreading disease, unrest and disorder across the continent. According to a World Bank report, waste generation in sub-Saharan Africa is around 62 million tonnes per year.

In addition, the World Economic Forum says that in Africa a total of 8 million tonnes of plastic waste leaks into the ocean each year. Alarmingly, it is predicted that by 2050 there will be more plastic than fish in the ocean if we do not take action to reduce pollution from litter.

To put it bluntly, if we keep throwing out trash, including bags, nylons, plastics, cans, and the like without worrying about potential dangers, there might be no more left over. fish to eat in the ocean. A horrible thought to contemplate, I’m sure!

To alleviate waste pollution, governments around the world have upped their game and imposed plastic bans. In fact, 46% of the 54 African countries have banned plastic, making the continent one of the countries with the highest percentage of national plastic bans in the world according to the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP). Despite this legislation, Africa remains the second most polluted continent on the planet.

In addition to the policies formulated, there are other approaches for effective waste management. In times before modern civilization, people dumped garbage on streets and unpaved roads where it was left to accumulate and rot; an unhealthy practice which was then abolished. However, from that point on, humans began to play with various waste disposal systems best suited to their time.

Today, technological innovations aimed at reducing pollution occupy a prominent place in alleviating some of the growing challenges of our increasingly technological world.

For some, the technology is seen as a figurative double-edged sword not only capable of ruining the environment, but also capable of repairing damage to the quality of the environment. In the following, I explore the ways in which technology is used to improve the environment, particularly in the area of ​​waste management.

Recycling waste into new products

Environmentally friendly individuals contribute their share in the fight against waste pollution. From a Nigerian woman who stunned the internet (Twitter) after showing beautiful bags, clothes and shoes she made from nylon sachet of water to young Tanzanians who turn plastic bags into mattresses, sell them for profit and distribute them to those in need. , the media abound with stories of inventive people concerned with the environment in Africa.

Let me tell you, these are by no means isolated incidents. Young Africans are unleashing their power and resources to revive our planet, keeping their communities safe in this ongoing battle against climate change.

Waste disposal applications

Companies in the waste management industry are creating new ways to manage waste in an efficient and environmentally friendly manner. For example, Yo-Waste, a technology waste management company based in Kampala, Uganda, has developed an app that allows individual households and small businesses to manage waste collection services from their mobile phones.

Modernization of landfills

In developing countries, landfills and landfills are the two most popular resting places for waste due to their cost effectiveness. Leveraging the power of science, the waste management industry has modernized landfills. Devices such as trash compactors have been designed to minimize the space occupied by landfills.

Automated garbage collection

This phenomenon is not uncommon in developed countries in Europe and Asia. With automated sensors that trigger instant alerts whenever a container is full and needs to be emptied, waste disposal becomes easier than ever. Although not yet widespread, this technique is gaining some attention in Africa.

What I have demonstrated from the above is that waste management is not necessarily a rigorous and tedious activity. Plus, it can be a lucrative business!

I also took the liberty of highlighting African startups that offer innovative solutions to the continent’s waste pollution. Let’s review some of these startups implementing tech-driven strategies to manage and eliminate waste, improve efficiency, job opportunities, and environmental safety.

Scrapays Technologies Ltd

Launched in 2019, Scrapays is a Nigerian cleantech startup that connects waste producers with independent recyclable collection companies so they can effectively dispose of sorted waste with incentives.

Recently, the startup won 12 million naira in grants from the 2021 Deji Alli ARM Young Talent Award (DAAYTA) program which ran virtually on April 9. The Deji Alli ARM Young Talent Award (DAAYTA) is a youth-focused initiative founded in 2015 by Asset & Resource Management Holding Company Limited (ARM) in honor of its founding CEO Deji Alli. It aims to support young entrepreneurs with smart and innovative ideas that have a positive impact on the lives of people and the communities around them.


Based in Jos, Nigeria, OkwuEco is a waste management platform that uses cutting edge technology to help its customers identify, sort their waste and connect with waste collectors or waste disposal services.


Coliba is a recycling and waste management start-up based in Côte d’Ivoire that tackles the problems of plastic pollution in the community. It uses web and mobile applications to connect waste producers to affiliated plastic waste collectors, allowing users to save airtime or discounts on certain products by recycling.


A Ghanaian e-waste management startup, AppCyclers converts e-waste into useful products such as egg incubators, home decor items, jewelry, key chains, mirror frames and other accessories for kids. reuse.

With the continued efforts of the aforementioned startups, coupled with the application of technological tools revealed earlier and the environmental awareness of every citizen, Africa may well be on the right track to contribute to a clean world.

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