According to the world scientific community, we are edging closer to the tipping point of our ecosystems’ destruction. Despite this gloomy international and local insight, Mauritius bears witness to quite a few entrepreneurs and green thinkers. Overview of the local initiatives that are gaining in popularity, and making us want to believe in them again!
Innovation at the heart of change
In recent years, green innovation has experienced a boom. In order to fight against digital pollution, Astrid Descelles created Besyn, a non-polluting website project for which she obtained second place in the ClimateLaunchpad Mauritius 2021 competition of the IBL group. “We tend to believe that going digital, since it is nonpalpable, has no ecological footprint,” she says. “In reality, the industry is more polluting than aviation! Each time we use a software, a cell phone, that we visit a web page or even send an email, we emit CO2”. Besyn, which is
currently targeting the foreign market, aims at minimising the amount of CO2 emitted.
Rahul Ramburn and Zeid Ramtoola identified a key need in Mauritius: reducing the consumption of single-use plastic. They set up a factory that makes containers from organic waste such as sugar cane bagasse and avocado pits. These 100% plant-based, biodegradable and compostable containers are sold to local businesses such as Les Vergers de Labourdonnais, but are also used for their own brand of drinking water, Water by be.eau. Last but not least, Rahul and Zeid are about to launch Compost by be.eau: a process for collecting and composting their bottles.
Things are also moving on the recycling side. WeCycle, founded by Ludovic Henry in 2012, collects, compresses and exports paper and cardboard ready for recycling. Now focusing on the local circular economy, the company has a new factory under construction. It will accommodate a technology that, by 2023, will recycle locally in order to produce raw material to manufacture Made in Moris cardboard boxes. Citizen initiatives such as Ecobricks (which transforms single-use plastic into building bricks), Trash to Music (musical instruments created from waste) and Precious Plastic are also contributing, on a smaller scale, to the ecological struggles.
Since 2020, two workshops of Precious Plastic have emerged thanks to crowdfunding. In these workshops equipped with simple technology that can be operated by everyone, the plastic collected is transformed into everyday objects.
When being a good citizen starts online
In recent years, eco-friendly Facebook groups and Instagram accounts are increasing. These platforms are perfect for democratising information. Zero Waste Mauritius brings together the followers of zero waste and the circular economy online, but also on-site. The group regularly solicits and advises schools and businesses, encouraging them to reduce their ecological footprint.
The Platform Moris Lanvironnman (PML) page is like an investigative newspaper. Its founder, Adi Teelock, makes sure to uncover environmental scandals, highlight the shortcomings and gaps of politicians and promoters on obtaining legal permits and EIA (Environmental Impact Assessment), and offers concrete solutions through articles press releases and public recommendations. On the Mauritius Recycling / Upcycling group, someone’s waste is someone else’s treasure. Milk cans, corks, empty jars…
Everything is exchanged and reused. There are also tips to give a second life to broken or unused items. Finally, Larout li pa enn poubel is a campaign created and financed by citizens. In addition to raising awareness among Mauritians about issues related to pollution of public spaces, the group regularly organises beach clean-ups.
“Find something you are passionate about and get started,” advises ZWM coordinator Victoria Desvaux. “We all have a role to play: create a business that offers green solutions, do some lobbying, train people or alert public opinion… Let us be the change we want to see ”.
Whether you are a small local startup, a multinational or a committed citizen, your actions count!
More articles from our No12 magazine edition over here: https://bit.ly/3tQU9lT