- Kenya has invested heavily in both policies and law enforcement to win the fight against plastic pollution
- The students conceptualized recycling used plastics and came out with an array of domestic and office equipment
- A visit to the school reveals a meticulous arrangement of old tyres strategically placed along walkways painted with the school colours
As Kenya grapples with the plastic use menace, students at Moi Kapsowar Girls in Elgeyo Marakwet county have innovated resourceful ways of recycling used plastics into effective but environment-friendly equipment.
The students conceptualized recycling used plastics and came out with an array of domestic and office equipment whose aesthetic value cannot be gainsaid.
Items made of plastic
From litter bins, penholders, water heaters, hanging gardens, shades, shopping baskets, and other items all made of plastics, the students have proved that plastics that are an eyesore to the environment can be put to better use.
PAY ATTENTION: Join TUKO.co.ke Telegram channel! Never miss important updates
Former students Patience Baraka and her classmate Valentine Chepkemoi inspired their colleagues to reuse plastics found littered everywhere, noting they could be put to good use in an environment-friendly manner to create a better place for both animals and plants.
“When the government banned plastic bags use we applauded it as a good move but we asked ourselves other than proscribing their uses how could we turn discarded bottles into good use other than allowing them to pollute the environment,” said Baraka, a former student at the school.
After mulling over the idea with her friends, she narrates, they approached the school management about the impression and began a mission to collect all the plastic bottles, old cans, tins, and other containers ready for recycling.
The school has embraced the idea
It is an idea that has become a tradition in the school.
Whenever there is a function in the school or within the neighbourhood, the students go there armed with gunny bags with one mission, to collect discarded plastics used for drinking water or other drinks and bring them to school for recycling.
On a visit to the school, one is greeted with a meticulous arrangement of old tyres strategically placed along walkways painted with the school colours giving unrivalled aesthetic value.
Also, plants are hung magnificently to create more pleasant sights.
Serene school environment
Finally, bottle plastic shades are erected around the compound to give students and staff a cooler during hot days.
Inside offices and classrooms, custom made pen holders and litter bins are being used.
The administration bought the wares from the students.
“School is not just a place to write and read for exams. Through such innovations, students can also grow and learn to be an all rounded person, and they can improve on their innovations after completing their studies and earn money thereafter,” offered Nicole Jepchirchir, a student at the school.
She says that the students have been taught to be cautious about their environment, and at the moment, no plastic is littered around the school.
“Even the community around seeing how we have recycled the plastics now collects and brings the plastics to school where we recycle them. Also some commercial banks in Kapsowar town are also using the recycled plastic litter bins we made instead of conventional ones,” the school head said.
To make the bottles litter bins, the students arrange the plastics of equal sizes and shapes in a parallel manner and pierce through them using a metal rod that holds them firmly.
The rods are then welded together and fitted with handles creating masterpiece items.
School principal weighs in on the idea
The school principal, Hellen Mabese Luhangala, said they are supporting the students to actualize their ideas and eventually mould an all-around person.
“We want to achieve the academics and develop the talent of the students. Also environmental conservation through plastic recycling has been achieved and if the students take the ideas to their homes we would have created a safe environment for all of us,” she said.
Luhangala said the school supports the students and also buys the ready items to be used by the students and the staff, and it has proved to be efficient, cost-effective and durable.
“What the students have done has cut down the school expenditure and given them an opportunity to generate income. Bigger innovations like the water heaters will give the students an opportunity to access hot showers,” she said.
Patenting the innovations
She said they are thinking about patenting the innovations after improving on them to compete with the existing ones.
And now, the innovations have caught the attention of government officials who feted the institution for its brilliance in creating an eco-friendly serene environment.
Area sub-county education director Evans Onyancha said he would write to the ministry headquarters to allow the institution to be a model for Competency-Based Curriculum (CBC) and allow other schools to benchmark there.
“What we are seeing is a concept of CBC and if other schools can emulate what the students at Moi Kapsowar girls have done, our country can have the much needed technical experts to drive the Big Four agenda,” said the education official.
He said learning institutions should teach practical environment lessons by allowing students to practice their ideas on plastic use.
Story by Mercy Chebet, TUKO correspondent