Comoros – Recycling

Collecting garbage and making money

In 2016, this project was supported by the Swiss Embassy of Madagascar.

Garbage as an environmental problem

Garbage is a devastating environmental problem in the Comoros. As in other countries around the world, the amount of waste to be disposed of is increasing year by year. Often, the waste is simply thrown into the bed of a river or on the shores of the sea, at the mercy of the waves.

Waste recycling

Pollution allows pathogens to multiply continuously. Diseases such as dengue fever, malaria and cholera are multiplying through the lack of waste treatment. Even the fauna and marine life of the Comoro Islands are threatened. Sea turtles die because of plastic waste they have ingested, and it is not uncommon for cows and goats to eat plastic bags that hang out in the wild. Batteries, which have been thrown away, poison the soil and the population’s drinking water supplies. The problem with waste pollution is that the local population sees no serious threat to their existence in the medium term.

Developing countries are flooded with materials that are more or less usable for trade in developing countries. Often, there is no definitive solution for broken plastic chairs, phones and old shoes. What was once quite naturally recycled is floating in our seas today. For example, at one time, mangoes and tomatoes were transported in palm leaf baskets. Today, cheap plastic basins are used that break at the slightest overload.

Goal of the project

Most waste can be recycled by simple processes. We want to find ways to restore not only the waste but also the life of the local population to ensure their long-term existence and initiate environmental awareness.

With simple technologies that can be used on site, we want to generate added value from waste. What can be recycled locally must create jobs for the local population. What cannot be recycled on site is exported. Or we use the waste by integrating it into existing processes, such as the distillation of fragrant flowers for the production of perfume. The waste then serves as fuel and goes into the fight against deforestation. Thus, through recycling, we can help solve another environmental problem in the Comoros.

Another goal is to educate the public through information. Due to a lack of knowledge, there have been few initiatives to protect the environment.

Martin Gurtner-Duperrex

Project consulting

"I am convinced that small, manageable development projects and personal relationships on the ground serve the people in need better in the long term than large-scale projects.”