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Nigerian Entrepreneur Turning Plastic Waste into Usable Items


    Olayemi Samson is a Nigerian entrepreneur. He is turning plastic waste into useful things like clothing, school bags, car covers and shoes.

    Samson says he is doing his part to fight pollution and support recycling while making a style statement.

    A World Bank report says the city of Lagos makes about 9,000 metric tons of waste a day. Samson says part of that waste includes about 27 million plastic water bags.

    “This waste, it takes takes 20 to 30 years before they decay. Where are they going to?”

    Samson says that is when he came up with the idea of changing the waste into something useful.

    The first step in Samson’s process is to collect the used bags from a dumpsite. Then, he washes them. After that, he can begin to sew the bags together, making car covers, school bags and other goods.

    His latest recycled creation is a raincoat.

    Some people cannot see past the history of Samson’s creations. Emmanuel Itiniyi of Lagos says the products are dirty.

    He says, “I won’t allow my child to wear it as a cloth to go to school or a bag to go to school. It doesn’t make any sense.”

    But others are more accepting, like Victor Anyaese.

    “Yes I can use it because, seeing the picture, it looks lovely. But it depends on the kind of outfit I am using it for. But I can use it probably for leisure.”

    Samson’s business is not profitable yet. But he hopes his work will help push young people and people in power to protect the environment.

    I'm Jonathan Evans.

    VOA’s Mariama Diallo reported on this story from Nairobi, Kenya. Xiaotong Zhou adapted it for Learning English. Caty Weaver was the editor.


    Words in This Story

    entrepreneur n. a person who organizes and manages any enterprise, especially a business, usually with considerable initiative and risk.

    dumpsite n. a large trash receptacle

    metric n. a standard of measurement

    allow v. to permit (something): to regard or treat (something) as acceptable

    outfit n. a set of clothes that are worn together

    leisure n. enjoyable activities that you do when you are not working