Kurfi Instissar: Mother Nature’s Advocate
In a bid to keep the environment free from toxins, Kurfi Instissar, an environmental advocate has devised a new form of recycling disposed waste materials. Specifically, plastic bags commonly called nylon bags. These waste materials are recycled and transformed into interlocking tiles, which is equivalent to the conventional tiles used as building materials. Her initiative has proved effective and rewarding to her community and the environment at large. This dynamic development in sustaining our ecosystem has gained recognition in various world media platforms such as the BBC news amongst others.
Instissar speaks to The Guardian Life on the processes, challenges, and impact of recycling waste materials and the human input that can contribute to keeping our ecosystem clean.
What fueled your need to be a part of the recycling business?
I was triggered when I saw the amount of plastic pollution the environment was plagued with. Everywhere is littered with Nylon bags. And over the years, research has shown that these plastics are very harmful to our environment and people. Locally and internationally, plastic pollution is listed as one of the enormous problems disturbing communities and the world at large. So this became a major concern of mine. Therefore, in doing my bid to rid the world of pollution, I decided to research ways on how to stop plastic pollution.
Why did you choose to recycle nylons rather than other recyclable materials?
I chose to recycle nylons because they are single-use plastics. I needed a recyclable material that would make a huge difference in ridding our environment of plastic pollution. Nylons litter our environment more than any other plastics such as plastic bottles. Plastic bottles are reusable, people use them to create artworks and as containers for liquid soaps, drinks, air fresheners, and many more. Unlike nylons that are found lying around in different places and also being eaten by animals which are very harmful to them and individuals.
Describe the process involved in creating the interlocking tiles?
The process involved in creating the interlocking tiles is first, we source for nylons around and sort them out. Afterwards, we melt it with the use of heat and mix it with sand. Then its contents are poured into molds. When it dries, it can be used immediately unlike the other conventional concrete tiles that you have to wait for 28 days before it can be in use.
Are there any hazards involved in processing the tiles?
There are hazards involved. Although we are putting in the effort on how it can be reduced. That is why the workers are given glasses, hand gloves, and nose masks during production.
What challenges and criticism do you encounter?
Sourcing and sorting out the raw material is one of our biggest challenges. Many people, especially households, are not used to sorting their waste, so getting the material we need can prove difficult. More so, we are currently producing the tiles manually so we face criticism from people due to the flames that are produced during production. People say that ‘the initiative claims to be ridding the environment of pollution but our production causes flames that are hazardous to the environment’. However, we try to make them understand that recycling one ton of waste that emits flames is negligible compared to the destruction the waste would cause if left on the streets. Nevertheless, we are looking at ways to reduce the fire flames during production.
What is the goal of your initiative?
Our goal is to rid Abuja and Nigeria of plastic waste and create empowerment for the unemployed youths
Do you plan on embarking on other ecosystems projects?
Yes, we plan on embarking on more ecosystem projects. With our plastic recycling, we plan on doing more because there are a variety of things that can be done with plastic waste. We plan on partaking in the planting of trees around the environment, carrying out environmental advocacies, and developing eco-friendly energy cooking technology.
In what ways can we contribute to keeping our ecosystem safe?
People need to be conscious of their environment. They need to have knowledge of the factors harmful to the environment and what can be done to improve our environment. Most importantly, it has to be inculcated in the growing youths of today. It could be introduced to schools as part of their curriculum so that children would be taught from their nursery stage how to dispose of waste properly and know about all the essential environmental practices. This need has also led our initiative to introduce sustainable development growth in some schools so it can be part of school clubs which will make children realise that the environment is part of them. This is because whatever harmful deeds we do to the environment comes back to us the people.