Ivory Coast is one of the regions most severely affected by Covid-19 in Africa with over 28,000 cases and a surging number. Even before the pandemic, the country’s economy was already struggling. Since March 2020, 1.3 million jobs or about one-third of all informal jobs have already been lost as a result of the pandemic and lockdown measures. Also, around 1.37 million households that had been just above the poverty line have now fallen below it and the poorest Ivorians have seen incomes plunging by 30%. While the government is trying to curb the spread of the virus, it is very difficult due to the lack of proper knowledge about preventive measures against COVID-19 among the population. Furthermore, safety equipment is costly for disadvantaged people who are the most vulnerable to this deadly virus. Also, without protective equipment, especially informal workers are struggling to perform their work.
In Ivory Coast, more than 280 tonnes of plastic waste is generated each day and only 5% of this is being recycled2. While the plastic recycling industry is expanding, it has the potential to become an additional source of income for disadvantaged people. Due to a lack of proper knowledge on how to extract the waste people do not benefit the way they could.
In response to the current Corona crisis, Coliba will conduct an awareness campaign on the risks and preventive measures against COVID-19 for its waste collectors to prevent the spread of the Coronavirus among workers, their families and the community of Abidjan. Additionally, protective gear, including gloves, masks, disinfecting antibacterial and anti-viral gel, soap and water-proof knee-high boots will be distributed to the workers free of charge to enable them to continue their jobs in a safe manner.
Moreover, local households will be made aware of the current crisis and how to protect themselves from being infected by means of live streams via Social Media and the publication of awareness campaign videos on different websites. Moreover, regarding Coliba’s recycling service, households will be informed about proper recycling methods and participating households will receive free of charge disinfectant gels and masks as a reward for their contribution to Coliba’s recycling system.