Hansen has been annoyed for a long time that used plastic bags are lying around everywhere. Being a resourceful guy, he seized the opportunity right away: he started a project in the school class that tackles the problem and at the same time sensitises the children to the issue of environmental protection. The children, whose education is supported by TreeForLife, earn part of their school fees by making paper bags that are sold to local traders. The traders then sell their goods in the bags. And the children have fun making them!
Admittedly, the project is probably only a drop in the ocean – but it is as well widely known that even the longest journey begins with the first step!
Unfortunately, we currently lack the financial means to continue this project. Material such as paper, glue and parcel string have to be bought. But it will be quickly reactivated when there is money again.
In Congo, environmental protection was regulated by law and the use of plastic bags actually is prohibited, but the implementation is not controlled and alternatives do not exist. Thus, the Congolese use plastic bags for the daily transport of their shopping and other goods, which are then thrown away after use and dispersed by the wind in all directions.
To be fair, the South Kivu region has been a war and crisis zone for more than 25 years. The population is plagued by marauding rebel groups and state structures are almost non-existent. Often, local people are concerned with daily life and survival, and environmental protection is understandably not a top priority.
In addition, there is no waste collection or collection points where people can get rid of their rubbish, as in many European countries. Plastic waste is then often thrown into the rivers and thus the problem is only shifted.