‘Don’t just throw it away, throw it into the Eco-bin!’, this is the motto for the University of Namibia students and lectures in the Change Project Team as they embark on a unique waste management project. From used plastic bottles, wires and iron bars the team has created the eco-bin plastic waste refuse collector. These bins store used plastic bottles for upcycling.
Christina Utete, a science lecturer at the University of Namibia who is one of the Capacity building programme’s participants and team leader of the Change Project spoke about what motivated the project idea:
“There is a lot of plastic bottle waste in our town, plastic is non-biodegradable and therefore causes a threat to environmental health and sustainability. These bottles have also become an eyesore as they make the town dirty”
The eco-bins which are of different creative designs are placed at various points on the campus to collect used plastic bottles. Pencil cases, flower containers and many other products are then created from the recovered waste plastic bottles. To encourage innovation and creativity, the Change Project team has introduced a competition for staff and students to design their own plastic bottle products. Christina added:
“The upcycling of plastic bottles educates people on how to reduce litter for a clean environment while also awakening their creativity”
To complement the eco-bin project on waste management the University of Namibia is also implementing a Biosphere Concept Change Project for conservation and sustainability of the animal species natural environment. This project aims to make visible the value of natural resource management as most people seem unaware of the dangers of environmental degradation. A school and a conservation park have been identified to be used in biosphere project implementation.
Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) is now being incorporated into the institutions’ course outline in Science, Environmental Education, Geography and Mathematics.
Lecturers and students have welcomed the ESD effort which spills over to the Rundu and Namibia community at large through the distribution of posters and fliers, awareness workshops and out-reach programmes.