Blog / Climate Action 2 Grant - Winner Spotlight: Charles Tinimowei

Charles Tinimowei, one of the winners of the recent Climate Action Grant 2, talks about his history working to improve plastic waste management in Lagos State, Nigeria. By collecting plastic waste and recycling them into flower pots and other afforestation tools, Charles and his project, Project Replast are lowering pollution, improving community health, and reducing flooding.

Posted by LC Hines on December 17, 2020

Charles grew up in a community that didn’t have the resources to be able to properly manage their plastic waste. During periods of heavy rainfall, plastic waste that was left in the streets would filter into the open drains causing significant blockages and flooding. This flooding would further spread the plastic waste, with it ultimately settling in their crops, the water supply, and people's homes.

Charles 1
“I grew up in an underdeveloped community in which everywhere was littered with plastic waste because people living there didn’t have enough understanding about waste management.”

Charles 2

Millions of tons of plastic waste have accumulated in runoff areas throughout the Lagos Riverine area. The goal behind Project Replast is not only to solve the immediate problem of dealing with this plastic waste directly, but also spread awareness about the dangers of poor waste management and the subsequent effects of unregulated carbon dioxide in our communities and planet. Poor waste management is one of the many ways our planet is being polluted. This pollution results in loss of natural habitats, reduction in plantlife, therefore increasing amounts of CO2, which generates greenhouse effects that warm our planet. 

Charles 3

“Many physical impacts of climate change are already visible, including extreme weather events, glacier retreat, changes in the timing of seasonal events (e.g., earlier flowering of plants).”

This lack of waste management practices not only damages our environment but also affects the health of the people in our communities. Flood runoff is the perfect carrier for contaminates, often polluting the food and water supply. In Nigeria, 60% of malaria, diarrhea, and pneumonia cases for children stem from conditions worsened by poor waste management. 

This problem is highlighted by the current COVID-19 pandemic. In a time where we have to make sure that we as individuals are safe, by practicing social distancing and maintaining good hygiene. We also need to take a step back, and look at the bigger picture, and take steps to protect the health of our communities, not just ourselves. 

“The future relies on Project Replast. The replast Loop is what everybody needs to consider if they want to save the earth from plastic waste (reduce, reuse, and recycle).”

Charles’s project, Project Replast aims to reduce plastic pollution by setting up recycling bins around Lagos communities. After the plastic waste is collected, it is then melted down, decorated and painted, and used for flower pots. These pots decorate the community, with the goal of showing the importance of ecological growth, and afforestation. Charles also plans to partner with NGOs and other corporate entities to raise funds and awareness for causes against the effects of climate change; he is encouraging people to use the hashtag #beatplasticpolution on social media when contributing to Project Replast’s values and efforts. 

Charles 4

Charles 5

Ultimately, while there are things that individuals within a community can do to make a difference when it comes to climate change, significant change will come when governments and companies start taking action. Government institutions and corporate entities must engage in economically friendly practices, people have to be made aware of your struggle through social media and we have to seize the opportunities available to us to make a difference in our communities.

“Talk to your friends and family, and make sure your representatives are making good decisions. Voice your concerns—via social media or, better yet, directly to your elected officials—you send a message that you care about the warming world.”

#plasticwaste #recycling #Climatechange
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