Mar. 12 - Oil-rich Algeria is taking steps to reduce its carbon footprint, by promoting investment in renewable energy projects and supporting recycling efforts. One factory is providing an example for others to follow, turning plastic bottles into packaging material. Jim Drury reports.
This rubbish dump is at the forefront of Algeria's burgeoning recycling industry. Workers from Sebtex Recycling collect plastic bottles to turn into textiles and wadding - padded material to be used in packaging. Hicham Naamoun is Sebtex factory foreman in the city of Constantine. SOUNDBITE (Arabic) HICHAM NAAMOUN, FOREMAN, SAYING: "We make wadding from plastic bottles, as you can see, and it's useful for everyone. We make blankets and many other things, this comes from plastic bottles." Sebtex recycles 1.2 million plastic bottles a day to make 30 tons of raw wadding. General Manager Derraji Sebti says business is thriving. SOUNDBITE (Arabic) DERRAJI SEBTI, GENERAL MANAGER OF SEBTEX RECYCLING, SAYING: "This waste, which was a burden on the state, is now sold today, everything is sold...the dump has became a gold mine for everyone." Sebti says recycling bottles that wouldn't biodegrade for 400 years will help Algeria meet international environmental obligations. Algeria is heavily dependent on exporting oil, but its government says it's also serious about going green. The country is a key African player in Climate Action (R20), the international environmental group formed by Arnold Schwarzenegger. The actor and former California governor recently gave this message to an Algerian conference. SOUNDBITE (English) ARNOLD SCHWARZENEGGER, ACTOR AND POLITICIAN, SAYING: "There are two paths of course to protect our environment; one is to conserve energy, conservation is a very, very important subject and the other one is creating green energy." Algeria plans to invest 60 billion U.S. dollars by 2030 in renewable energy projects. The regular sunshine it enjoys creates huge potential for solar energy, while hydraulic programs, smart buildings, and a desalination station, are all planned.