A recycling plant in Tanzania’s port city of Dar es Salaam has started to trade paper for plastic bottles and started making anti-COVID-19 face shields that hospitals and health centres nationwide started to use to fight the global pandemic.
Until earlier this year, Zaidi Recyclers had a thriving business in processing wastepaper which is exported to customers in China and India, with about $37,000 in revenues each month, according to its founder Allen Kimambo.
Workers prepare face shields from recycled plastics at the Zaidi Recyclers workshop as a measure to stop the spread of coronavirus. Image credit WHTC
Yet, new orders dried up after the country imposed strict lockdown measures to control the spread of the virus, reducing the global trade to a trickle.
However, within this situation, Kimambo quickly spotted an opportunity which allowed him to save his business and the jobs of all its 38 workers.
Indeed, Zaidi Recyclers switched its processing waste paper business to the production of face shields, a vital piece of personal protective equipment for all the health workers battling against the coronavirus pandemic.
“I think this is the key to remain relevant. You should not panic, because this is not the first time that we are facing this kind of crisis,” he declared.
“If you panic, you will get lost and then you will not be able to come up or to be active as you used to be before the pandemic outbreak.”
Workers prepare face shields from recycled plastics at the Zaidi Recyclers workshop as a measure to stop the spread of coronavirus disease in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. Image credit Reuters, Stringer
Massive orders are flooding from the health sector from across Tanzania, Kimbabo said. In recent weeks they had made 6,000 units that go for about $2 for each piece.
Tanzania has so far recorded 509 coronavirus cases and 21 related victims.
Authorities have declared that the disruptions from the pandemic are expected to slow the overall economic growth in 2020 up to 4% from a projection of 6.9% made before the outbreak.
The firm, like many other businesses across the country, has had to meet extra costs to protect its employees while keeping the company production in operation, including the special transportation for the workers to and from the workplace.
Workers prepare face shields from recycled plastics at the Zaidi Recyclers workshop as a measure to stop the spread of Covid-19 coronavirus in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. Image credit Reuters, Stringer