A LOCAL recycling initiative, known as the Recycling Lab, was recently awarded the Africa Tourism Leadership Youth Innovation Award in Rwanda's capital Kigali for its initiative in sustainable architecture and waste management.
Recycling Lab, an initiative by local interior architect Luzé Kloppers, was the only representative of southern Africa which made it to the top five of the competition.
It was up against Tanzania, Uganda, Kenya and Rwanda among others.
"The Recycling Lab strives to provide solutions and build networks to establish long-term waste solutions to assist people to dispose of their waste responsibly, especially focusing on plastics," Kloppers says.
She received the award last week from the chief executive officer of Africa Tourism Partners, Kwakye Donkor, during her visit to South Africa.
The Recycling Lab was established by Kloppers during 2020's lockdown.
"Working as a sustainable architect, waste management is always a challenge. Waste is something most people just want to get rid of as soon as possible, rather than seeing it as something that has value," she says.
After travelling and working in over 15 countries, Kloppers says she was intrigued by the global plastic waste challenges and decided to address the problem.
According to her, the goal is to clean up communal conservancies and establish long-term clean-up networks with waste-removal solutions in remote areas and lodges.
"I decided it was time to change that. Not only is the dumping and burning of plastic waste polluting the environment, killing animals and adding to global warming, but it's also money and job opportunities we are throwing away," she says.
She says sustainable waste-management approaches should be an environmental, economic and public health priority for Namibia to achieve the 2030 Agenda for sustainable development.
Recycling Lab is currently running a pilot project at Uibasen at the Twyfelfontein Conservancy in the Kunene Region due to its huge waste challenges.