Nicole Menemene is fighting plastic pollution in the DRC
Nicole Menemene is the 30-year-old Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Plastycor, a commercial establishment that recycles old plastic waste collected from lakeshores and dumpsites to make baskets, flowerpots, garbage cans, stools, and pedestal tables. The young entrepreneur works with a local network of young people in the Democratic Republic of Congo to reduce plastic pollution. Nicole’s company has 10 employees, but her goal is to “industrialise” their work. With her project and other local efforts, Menemene hopes to see a “90 per cent reduction of Lake Kivu’s pollution“. “The idea of creating Plastycor came to my mind in 2016 when I saw a growing plastic waste invading rivers and clogging gutters. I stad seeing local inhabitants disposing of waste in lakes and rivers. I was constantly appalled by our people’s attitude and behaviour towards the environment. It was at this point I stad taking matters into my own hands. I embarked on an ambitious awareness campaign drive to educate the local people in my community about the dangers of plastic pollution and how the scourge can alter habitats and natural processes,thereby reducing ecosystems’ ability to adapt to climate change,” Menemene explained in an interview. After collecting the plastic waste, Nicole and her team transform it into bouquets of flowers and artistic paintings. Nicole manufactures armchairs, shelves, multi-use baskets, and walls, with and without masonry. The said products are directly purchased by individuals but also by non-profit organizations. She said the profit generated is reinvested into the recycling business.