YAOUNDE, Cameroon (Reuters) – Roger Milla, who shot to worldwide fame for his World Cup goal celebrations, is now tackling flooding with a scheme to turn plastic blocking Cameroon’s drains into building blocks.
Milla’s Coeur d’Afrique (Heart of Africa) is paying unemployed young people to collect the plastic which blocks drains and exacerbates flooding in Cameroon, with the waste then turned into slabs that can be used instead of concrete.
“When it rains, the river floods and the plastic bottles come all the way to our houses. They also cause us to get sick and they also emit a foul smell” Eveline Massock, a resident of Cameroon’s largest city, Douala, told Reuters.
Cities in Cameroon, including its capital Yaounde, have seen some of the worst flooding on record in the past two years.
This has prompted Coeur d’Afrique, in a collaboration between local councils and a garbage-collection company, to employ 300 young people in Yaounde to collect plastic. They work three days a week for 2,500 cfa ($5) a day.
Slabs made from the plastic they have recovered have already been used in construction projects in Yaounde, including a national sporting facility for handball.
“It’s a good project for the future of our country, especially when it comes to the fight against pollution,” Coeur d’Afrique director general Arsel Etoundi told Reuters.
“It’s also good because this is also a source of revenue and job creation for young Cameroonian youths”, he added.
Milla, 65, won over soccer fans in the 1990 World Cup in Italy with his outlandish celebratory goal-scoring dances and then became the oldest World Cup goal-scorer, aged 42, in 1994.
(Writing by Mark Hanrahan in London; editing by Alexander Smith)