He is better known for scoring four goals in the 1990 World Cup — and, at the age of 42, being the oldest goal scorer in World Cup history after his goal against Russia in 1994 — but today, in his native Cameroon, Roger Milla is now known as a champion of the nation’s poor children.
Cameroon’s capital Yaounde is prone to flooding, partly because of increased rainfall, but also because of the large amount of plastic waste blocking drains and gulleys. Milla’s Coeur d’Afrique (heart of Africa) organisation is paying unemployed youths to remove the plastic litter from the waterways.
The discarded plastic waste — mostly PET bottles — is then recycled by a company called Hysacam. The waste is melted down, mixed with sand and poured into moulds to make an alternative to concrete slabs. These plastic slabs cost $5.40 per square metre, making them less expensive than traditional concrete slabs at $8.50 per square metre. The plastic slabs take just 15 minutes to set, unlike the 24 hours needed for concrete to cure.
Hysacam’s slabs have been approved for use in marshy areas and for building septic tanks and have been used by Cameroon’s National Olympic sports committee to build the country’s national handball field. To date the project has employed 750 unemployed youngsters with the goal of employing up to 2,500 by 2017.