The two men, who in 2019 started the production of bricks from recycling plastics waste in the Jamaica Road Community in Monrovia, have now transitioned to the production of rain coats, bags and other materials from discarded water sachets. Freeman and Roberts diverted from the production of brick temporarily due to the lack of finance to purchase machines that are required for the bricks production. According to both men, using fire to light the plastic is not environmental friendly and is very dangerous to their health.
Speaking on their production site Wednesday, July 28, 2021, Mr. Freeman explained that he and his colleague are now involved in converting plastics waste into rain coats, bags and other materials for school going children and community people. Mr. Freeman, who is a Senior Atlantic Fellow for Global Health Equity from the George Washington University as zero waste Ambassador for community leaders in Africa, disclosed that their new approach is less intense and more civil than burning plastics. The young Liberian recalled that their new invention came about due to the collaboration they had with students from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology reflecting on ways that plastic can be use on resource deprived setting like Liberia.
He said in collaboration with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, they realized that there are many solutions they could derived but the production of bags and rain coats from waste is their first immediate and short term initiative, starting with Raymond Camp in Mount Coffee, Harrisburg Township. Mr. Freeman further disclosed that the project is sponsored for now by him and his colleague, Mr. Roberts, using portion of their monthly income to hire tailor for the production of the rain coats and bags. He averred that plastic waste is a serious concern to the United Nations and other organizations for which they (Freeman and Roberts) have decided using their personal resources to work with communities in Liberia.
The young environmental advocate is asking every citizen and resident of Liberia including the government, international NGOs even for profit organizations to help them financially in order to purchase sewing machines. He said once they have the financial support they are seeking, they will love to hire a tailor that will teach vulnerable female or single parents (mothers and fathers) to learn how to sew or to produce the waste plastics out of rain coats and bags. The two men are concentrated in Raymond Camp, Mount Coffee because they believe that the community is hosting the hydro plant and was the center of lots of waste plastics.
“Due to the construction of the hydro, people from every part of Liberia came to seek job and this cause the community to grow beyond its actual size which could not be handle by leaders, so everything became problem including waste management. Because of the proximity of Mount Coffee to Monrovia, lots of the goods that were brought here contain plastic, water sac and everything. Mind you, once we don’t have proper waste management system put in place, plastic bags will be thrown into the water, enter the turbine that will get it damage.” He said the people of Raymond Camp Community have welcomed the idea and the young people are the driving force behind the initiative.
He said they want to reach other communities, townships, districts and counties, but in order to do so, they will need the assistance from well-meaning Liberians, organizations and other nationals. The youthful Liberian environmental advocate is encouraging the young people of Liberia to use their time to volunteer in various communities. Among other things, he added that, “aid had never help any country developed as well as politics and is asking well-meaning Liberians, politicians to depoliticize Liberians, especially the youths and make Liberians to think innovative and have competition that will enable the youths to start thinking outside the box and start to do thing that will help develop the communities and the country at large.”
For his part, Frank D. Goodlin, an elder of Raymond Camp, said the idea of the two Liberians environmental advocates have brought a total change to their community. Mr. Goodlin said their community was affected by a huge pile of plastics due the rehabilitation of the hydro which took lots of people to Raymond Camp that host the Mount Coffee hydro plant. He said many people went there in search for job and to do business and if notHe said the idea is new to the community but community dwellers especially the young people are happily working to make the change needed. He also joined Freeman and Roberts to call on the government, especially the Liberia Electricity Cooperation (LEC) to help provide funding towards what the young people are doing because the facility in Mount Coffee is important to the LEC.