Rwanda’s Trash Warrior Tackles E-Waste With Blockchain

Tuesday, September 24, 2019

By Anne Kidmose

When Ghislain Irakoze was 12, he discovered the weight of the waste problem in his hometown of Musanze in Northern Rwanda. Together with a classmate, Irakoze had ventured into the local landfill to do research for a school assignment, when suddenly a garbage heap detached and came sliding toward them. Irakoze’s friend Eric was hit and screamed out as his leg was buried in garbage. “He was traumatized,” Irakoze remembers; Eric spent a week in the hospital with a broken leg before returning to school.

The boys never completed that assignment, but the accident taught Irakoze something valuable. “In a waste-free world this would have never happened,” he says, the 19-year-old’s eyes framed by black-rimmed glasses that give him the thoughtful look of a much older man.

Seven years after the accident, Irakoze is directing his own waste management company, Wastezon, a social enterprise that uses technology to reduce the amount of electronic waste that ends up in landfills. This week, the 19-year-old will join climate activist Greta Thunberg at the U.N. Youth Climate Summit in New York as one of 100 selected young people offering solutions on climate change. While in New York, he plans to advocate for “green funds for underfunded climate change mitigation projects in Africa.”

Photo courtesy of Fairphone.

Source: OZY (link opens in a new window)

Environment, WASH
blockchain, climate change, social enterprise, waste