Sunday October 20, 2019
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‘Made In Senegal’ Drones Made With Broken Refrigerators, With Blacksmith’s Help

Mamadou Wade Diop has been working with drones both in the photography and health sectors for years, now, he decided to work with local blacksmiths and construct a drone made in Senegal

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Drone, Senegal, Africa, Innovation, Waste
Not all materials necessary to make the drone are available in Senegal, but Diop says he wants to prove that it’s possible to make this technology right here in his home country. VOA

Mamadou Wade Diop has been working with drones both in the photography and health sectors for years. But recently, he decided to work with local blacksmiths and construct a drone made entirely in Senegal.

Mamadou Wade Diop, who calls himself Dr. Drone on social media, is one of the few people, if not the only person in the Dakar area who can fix broken drones.

But recently, he’s taken his knowledge a step further, consulting with drone makers across the world on how to construct one of his own.

Diop says that through the internet, he’s been able to communicate with other drone makers in France and China to chat about their experiences.

Though he does a lot of work in the audio-visual sector, renting his services out to news and documentary crews as well as collecting drone footage of various places in Senegal to sell, the purpose of his first Made-In-Senegal drone will be in the health sector – a drone that can spread chemicals to prevent mosquito breeding in stagnant water.

Drone, Senegal, Africa, Innovation, Waste
Diop says that through the internet, he’s been able to communicate with other drone makers in France and China to chat about their experiences. Wikimedia Commons

Not all materials necessary to make the drone are available in Senegal, but Diop says he wants to prove that it’s possible to make this technology right here in his home country.

Diop says that carbon fiber isn’t available in Senegal. Though he ordered it from China, he worked with local blacksmiths to shape pieces for his drone. And as for local materials, he was able to recycle a piece of aluminum from a broken refrigerator to form part of the body of his drone.

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Mamadou Diallo is an owner of a photography shop who often collaborates with Diop.

Diallo says that the demand for drones in Senegal is not high but is increasing, though there is not yet enough of a market.

But he supports Diop, who says that if they don’t start making their own drones now, foreign companies will come in and begin to sell them at much higher prices. (VOA)

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One-man Campaign to Collect Plastic Waste which Pollutes River

Now, at 32, he has given up his job to move back there permanently to collect plastic waste which pollutes its waters

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Campaign, Plastic, Waste
Bence Pardy, 32, carries plastic bags full of waste in Tiszafured, Hungary, Oct. 1, 2019. VOA

Bence Pardy spent his summers as a child by Hungary’s second main river, the Tisza. Waste.

Now, at 32, he has given up his job to move back there permanently to collect plastic waste which pollutes its waters.

The Tisza, one of the main rivers in eastern Europe, starts in Ukraine and flows across Hungary to join the Danube in Serbia. It then flows eastwards to empty into the Black Sea.

Over the past three months, working all day on his own from a small motorboat, Pardy has collected by hand plastic bottles from the river and its floodplains to fill 466 huge binbags.

Campaign, Plastic, Waste
Plastic waste is seen on the River Tisza near Tiszafured, Hungary, Oct. 1, 2019. VOA

In many places there are floating waste islands made up of plastic bottles already overgrown with lush vegetation.

“We used to have a house in a nearby small village and came here for the summers. There was no waste at that time… there wasn’t this craze for plastic plates and forks,” Pardy said, picking empty bottles and plastic bags from the grass and trees hanging over the slow-moving river.

He worked as a waiter in Budapest before he moved to Tiszafured, a town nearby, and now lives in a small caravan. As his money was running out, he launched a social media campaign to raise funds for the project.

During another large-scale initiative, which he also joined, volunteers removed more than 11 tons of waste from the Tisza this summer, Pardy said.

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The waste, which also includes refrigerators, car parts and even hazardous items such as needles, is mostly washed downstream from Ukraine during flooding from the waste dumps there, he said.

“I was so shocked by this that I could not continue doing and enjoying my job and now here I am,” said Pardy.

“My sad experience is that I see anglers or the people who come for holidays and they just walk past the rubbish, and even when it is at arm’s length, they don’t pick it from the river. I am astonished to see such negligence.”

Pardy said he was determined to continue what he started.

Campaign, Plastic, Waste
Bence Pardy drives his motorboat on the River Tisza near Tiszafured, Hungary, Oct. 1, 2019. VOA

“We are getting all the warning signs, and we still do not want to change. I think we are heading into an abyss at high speed… We believe we can separate ourselves from nature, and that our actions have no consequences.”

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“I am trying to be an optimist, and yes, there are all kinds of efforts, but this is still way too little.” (VOA)