It is no longer surprising that trash or garbage is beginning to be seen as a resource rather than a nuisance.

Times where people looked at bins of overflowing garbage and heaps of trash as a major problem is almost becoming a thing of the past, thanks to a crop of young people who have seen the worth in garbage and are using all forms of technologies and ideas to turn it into money making ventures.

This realisation have manifested in bags, dustbins, artworks and even houses among others made from discarded plastic bottles and bags.

Apart from ridding our environment of filth, these ventures are serving as a source of employment for the youth.

It is in this regard that a young Ghanaian woman, Portia Arthur a media and a participant of Miss Metro Ghana 2017, is leading an initiative dubbed ‘Borla for Cash’ which means garbage in exchange for money.

The Miss Metro Ghana beauty pageant is hinged on selecting a beauty queen to promote clean environment and educate the masses on adhering to good sanitation practices.

The “Borla for Cash project” will offer training to young people on how to make items like bags, purses dustbins among others from discarded plastic bottles and bags which will in turn transform into employment opportunities.

For now, Miss Arthur is preparing the minds of people living in her community in the Western Region of Ghana, through education and changing their perception about waste, how to separate waste, the importance of a clean and safe environment and the various economic opportunities available.

This initiative according to her, will go a long way to reduce unemployment rate in the country but first in the Western Region.

The training which will draw experts from sanitation and environmental organisations from all parts of Ghana will afford participants the opportunity to exhibit what they are able to produce during the 6 months training.

Now how do they make money from their products?

“We are going to sign a contract with them and employ them. Additional, the first cohorts will be employed as trainers for the next batch of participants,” Miss Arthur explained.

However, the initiative is not free from challenges

“I’m really facing a lot of challenges; one is funding and lack of equipment like manual and electrical sewing machines among others.” she lamented.

There are plans to also initiate a yearly sanitation debate modelled after the National Maths and Science Quiz (NMSQ).

The debate which is expected to start in the Western region after the training this year (2018), will be based in the Western region with plans to extend it to other regions.

The aim is to educate young people and pool ideas from community leaders and experts on how to achieve a clean and healthy environment.

In a related development, Environmental Artist, Rufai Zakari is known for using discarded plastic bottles for beautiful arts pieces and has to his credit an artwork of Osagyefo Dr Kwame Nkrumah, Ghana’s first prime minister made completely from plastic waste.

Additionally, Mckingtorch creations a start-up in Ghana is currently transforming waste to basically anything. In 2017 the start-up created a giant Christmas tree from over 300 discarded plastic bottles.

Pamela Ofori-Boateng

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