Kariobangi Garbage Collector Wins Ksh10 Million in London

People collecting garbage along a river
People collecting garbage along a river
Chemolex Ltd.com

Chemolex Limited, a Kariobangi-based startup has received recognition in the Afri-Plastics Challenge and won Ksh10 million in London for its efforts in greening and cleaning the environment.

The funds will boost the team in continuing their efforts to help reduce the harmful effects of plastic and garbage pollution in the country.

The team was elated for making it to the finals of the Afri-Plastic Challenge after a successful application in 2021.

"Will you walk with us in this journey to provide biodegradable plastic packaging and diapers? Our environment is filled with dirty diapers and plastic bags, not anymore!", stated the team.

Heaps of garbage dumped in a residential area in Kaloleni, Nairobi.
Heaps of garbage dumped in a residential area in Kaloleni, Nairobi
Eddy Mwanza

The garbage collectors have made efforts in developing and installing two plastic interceptors in Kairobangi and Mathare sites that help determine the flow rate of plastic waste in River Ngong and Nairobi.

Afterward, a plastic capture was installed in River Nairobi at Kariobangi Site that prevents people from manually removing the plastics from the river which often caused health complications.

Their efforts in cleaning the environment include garbage collection, river rehabilitation, recycling, and repurposing among other activities mostly in the country's capital city.

According to a statement on their website, Chemolex Limited says, "Our goal is to ensure that our activities in cleaning and greening bring a behavioral change that will address waste disposal from the household level".

An initiative to create awareness and sensitize the communities surrounding these rivers has been in action by the group to help the communities integrate the 3Rs (Reduce, Reuse and Recycle).

Interestingly, Chemolex has a recycling system that converts different plastic wastes to make construction materials such as fencing poles, pavement blocks, and tiles. They state that the Kenya Bureau of Standards (KEBS) has approved the commercial production of the construction materials.

The Afri-Plastics challenge is run by London-based innovation experts Challenge Works. It aims at reducing the increasing harm caused by plastic pollution in  Sub-Saharan Africa.

“Eradication of the plastic waste menace in the environment is critical to ensure resilient, sustainable communities. This calls for new solutions that go beyond traditional thinking.

Today’s finalists are leading the way in dramatically reducing the volumes of plastic entering the economy to bear down on the avalanche of plastic waste that is engulfing Africa and its precious marine ecosystems,” stated Constance Agyeman, director of international development at Challenge Works

Chemolex Limited was among the ten finalists for the challenge. Others were Naza Agape Foundation & Well of Science from Nigeria, Industrial Research Institute (UIRI) in Uganda, She eCo Response & Regenize from South Africa, Toto Safi from Rwanda, and Derocolbags Packaging Limited company in Ghana, and other two startups from Kenya Lwanda Biotech & EcoCoCo Homecare.

Picture of a plastic capture installed by Chemolex Limited
Picture of a plastic capture installed by Chemolex Limited
Chemolex Ltd.com