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January 18, 2019, Hazviperi Mbizi
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Plastics- Solution to waste management

News   Hazviperi Mbizi   February 11, 2019
PIC: Chikopa showing his award
In an effort to help disposing plastic products which are hindering the government’s policy of beautify Malawi, a final year Mechanical Engineering student from The University of Malawi- The Polytechnic, Paul Chikopa discovered a way of dealing with the problem by inventing a litho-plastic brick which is formed from plastics and sand.

Chikopa who got the idea from Nigeria and Ghana, decided to bring this innovation to Malawi because it is an easy project which requires locally found raw materials.

Chikopa explained that the cities are always dirty with plastics so it is also a waste management project. Apart from that, it will help reduce deforestation, as people cut trees to burn bricks.

 “This project will change how people view waste plastics. Some may collect these and sell to the litho plastics bricks manufacturers, in so doing help in keeping the country clean,” he explained.

He further outlined that after being tested in the Civil Engineering laboratory at the Polytechnic, they have proved to be stronger than the normal and concrete bricks.

The Dean of Faculty of Engineering Dr Gregory Gamula explained that this project, if scaled up, can contribute a lot to the economy of the country.

“The project uses 100% local materials which means, the country cannot lose forex. If industries can be created it also means employment and entrepreneurship to the people of Malawi,” Gamula added

The Dean also commended this kind of innovation citing that students who are in the lower classes get motivated to come up with something viable so that they should also be in the limelight.

Another lecturer who was a judge at the Design Studio Alinafe Kaliwo, explained that this project if it gets funding in the area of research and development, can achieve its intended purpose in the country.

“This project has a potential, we saw that they smashed the bricks on the ground and it proved to be a strong brick indeed,” Kaliwo confirmed.

He concluded by saying that plastics are choking the world so coming up with this project is a good thing. Even if it is being done somewhere else in the world this one in particular will help conserve the environment in this country

Associate Lecturer Waheed Mia explained that this is a viable project which if it gets support from relevant stakeholders in government or the private sector, can help to improve a lot of things.

He further enlightened that they are working towards approaching the construction companies and those that are dealing with waste management and pollution like the City of Blantyre, to work hand in hand with the Mechanical Engineering department to collaborate in this project.

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