Wed, 04 Oct 2023

LUSAKA, June 5 (Xinhua) -- Nailess Mtonga, 75, is well known in her neighborhood for making doormats and rugs from recycled sacks and pieces of cloth.

She has been doing this for more than 15 years in her native Chaisa, a low-income residential area in Lusaka, the capital of Zambia, to supplement her family's income.

"I get leftover pieces of cloth from different tailors in my area. They charge me 50 Zambian Kwacha (about 2.5 U.S. dollars) per batch. I am able to make five doormats from one batch," Mtonga said.

The doormats and rugs are sold at 30 Zambian Kwacha (about 1.5 dollars) a piece.

The sacks, which are made of plastic material, serve as the base for the doormats and rugs, and pieces of cloth form the upper part of the handicrafts.

"I encourage my family members and friends not to throw away used sack bags but to use them to make doormats and rugs and earn some income," said Mtonga, who has four surviving children and 12 grandchildren.

Making doormats and rugs has enabled her to attain some level of financial independence, she said.

"My children help me financially only when it is really necessary. I do not want to be a burden to anyone of them," Mtonga said, adding that she is happy to make a living using environmentally sustainable means, with raw materials that are readily available.

June 5 is World Environment Day, which has been celebrated annually since 1973, and this year's theme focuses on solutions to plastic pollution under the campaign #BeatPlasticPollution.

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