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Woman in Nanyuki earns a living through waste recycling

For the love of the environment, a civil servant and mother of three from Nanyuki’s Baraka Trading Centre has ventured into recycling garbage to make house décor.

Speaking to media, 31-year-old Monica Waithera, who works with the Department of National Registration Bureau in Laikipia, said bottles, tattered clothes and beverage cans which are some of the waste materials she recycles to decor had become an eyesore in the area and thus spurring her to recycle them into home accessories. Waithera said in most of her free time, she spends scouting for disposed bottles and rags which she converts to house décor.

Home décor products made from recycled wastes. Photo by Muturi Mwangi

“As a Kenyan and environmental conservation crusader, I am doing my part to preserve our ecosystem. People find this as trash but in my point of view, it is a treasure,” she noted, while pleading with residents to find alternative use of waste materials rather than polluting the environment.

“I would encourage people to recycle bottles and use them in beneficial ways. They are hazardous and when thrown away haphazardly, they block sewer lines and as a result people suffer diseases such as cholera,” she emphasized.

Her fine products, for instance jewellery holders and flower vases are achieved after she mixes cement solution with tattered cloths which she moulds to client’s desire.

For beverage cans and bottles, Waithera first cleans them, sprays with different colours of paints and thereafter decorates them with Maasai beads. Bringing out magnificent interior décor.

Away from house beautification, her items can be used to hold candles and small household items.

Waithera noted that, early last year, she injected Sh300,000 into the business but the money went into drain months later after President Uhuru Kenyatta locked the country to prevent Covid-19 contagion.

“I took out a loan to boost my business but unfortunately Covid-19 came knocking. After the lockdown there were no tourists who I mostly relied on as my clients. I had to pay rent from my pocket for nine months and at some point, I even got depressed,” she said.

However, that did not deter Waithera from pursuing her passion for environment conservation.

“After some time, I decided to shift to working at home where I did not have to pay rent. I use social media to market my products. Hotels and home owners are my main clientele,” she said, adding her house decor products range between Sh500 to Sh2,500.

Laikipia National Environment Management Authority (NEMA) County Director, Jackson Muturo, said NEMA has developed a programme to conserve the environment tailored down to county level.

“We have significant programmes on solid waste management and pollution control. We are implementing the National Solid Waste Management Strategy, enforcing the regulations on solid waste and supporting the county governments to establish proper waste management infrastructure,” he noted.

He added that, the Authority also had taken initiatives anchored on environmental research to protect the environment.

“As an Authority we have continued to promote principles of green economy initiatives that reduce carbon emissions,” said the Director.

By Muturi Mwangi

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