Ministry donates US$10 00 to plastic brick project
A plastic brick molding project spearheaded by the Ziso Reutano Environmental Group based in Gokwe Centre in the Midlands has received a timely boost from the Environmental Management Agency (EMA) under the Ministry of Environment, Water and Climate, to commercialize their operations.
The unique project is originally an imported idea from a Church organisation based in Mashonaland West Province, Karoi to be specific, with the assistance of the EMA, who taught them ways of how best they can mold bricks out of plastic mixed with river sand.
The award winning group, which started off by helping Gokwe Town council and EMA keep the town clean by picking and sorting waste, received a staggering US$10 000 from EMA under the Ministry of Environment.
Speaking after the receiving the cheque from the Environment Minister Oppah Muchinguri-Kashiri in Lower Gweru during the launch of Command Fisheries at Insukamini Dam, Ziso Reutano Chairperson Mrs Emmaculate Chifana said the group is delighted by the Ministry and EMA’s gesture of recognizing their efforts.
“I cannot express how I am feeling right now, we are overjoyed because we had no protective clothing, no uniforms and no proper machinery to use in our project but I am confident that with this gift from EMA we will work even harder.
“We will buy protective gear because we work under very hot conditions, we are grateful to EMA for recognizing us,” she said.
EMA Acting Director of Environmental Management Services Mrs Alletta Nyahuye said the bricks are as good as any other and have been certified by the Standards Association of Zimbabwe (SAZ), calling for tertiary institutions to chip in with technical assistance to simplify the molding process.
“This group started around 2015 and were picking and sorting litter. They were picking plastics and started the plastic brick project and we realized that they were doing quite a lot with the limited resources they have,” she said.
“The brick is top quality because we took a sample to SAZ for strength testing and they said it’s a very good brick now what is missing is the technical side to help ease the molding process because it’s manual and laborious.
“Now we want to work with Technical Colleges to help speed up the production process, design easier methods or machines that can easily melt the plastics and mix it with sand,” Nyahuye said.
She went on to say if the plastic brick molding project is successful at a larger scale it will create downstream jobs such as plastic pickers from whom they will be buying the plastics.
Ziso Reutano once attended the Zimbabwe International Trade Fair (ZITF) in Bulawayo where they came first with their plastic brick concept.
Mrs Chifana went on to say Ziso Reutano is a group of about 20 people which originally started as an Environmental Health Group mainly focusing on picking and selling the litter to Harare before one of the local councilors, one Dr. Nyamukasi sold them the idea of molding the plastics into bricks and linked them to the Karoi organisation for training with the assistance of EMA.
The bricks are being sold at 50 cents giving life to one of EMA’s policies of “turning waste into cash”.
The group is currently working together with a local school, St Pauls Primary molding bricks for 25 cents each, where the school assists with firewood and sand while they provide labor and plastics.