Two young Venezuelan engineers are using their ingenuity to convert the country’s large amounts of plastic waste into car parts.
As reported by Reuters on Wednesday, the two men, Albermar Dominguez and John Naizzir, are melting down plastic waste before placing it in 3D printers that convert it into intricate objects that can be used for cars.
The two men are currently producing one kilo of printed objects a day at the Simon Bolivar University in Caracas, although their eventual aim is to provide cheaper materials to Venezuelan businesses heavily dependent on foreign exports.
Such parts are now increasingly hard to find given the country’s economic crisis that has led to mass shortages of everything from food and medicine to gas and precious metals.
For many businesses, importing products has also become unaffordable due to the country’s staggering rates of inflation that have rendered the Bolivar currency practically worthless.
However, such ingenuity in Venezuela is increasingly rare as thousands of enterprising young people flee the country every week in search of new opportunities.
“People don’t believe that technology is being developed in the country,” Dominguez told Reuters. “Despite the very challenging outlook, we receive a lot of support because people take hope from our project.”
Dominguez told the agency that he had visited the United States to learn from experts in the 3D printing industry and developed an interest in recycling waste.
On returning to Venezuela, he and his partner set up their own company, Nedraki, which began with collecting materials from the university’s garbage dump that thought they could recycle. Soon after they signed an agreement with a recycling plant from in the city of Valencia to provide more material.
Following months of successful growth, Nedraki now supplies 13 Venezuelan businesses with materials by producing essential materials and objects at a cheaper price, lowering costs by an average of 40 percent.
Waste management is one of the countless problems faced by the country during its current crisis that has devastated large swathes of the economy and left many public services severely underfunded. Following the dissolving of local authorities such as the Caracas city government, many streets and roads have been left drowning in waste after the city’s environmental planning was left in “legal, labor, and administrative limbo.”
Due to the rising problem of hunger and malnutrition, many people scavenge through the strewn garbage in hope of finding food or other reusable living resources. Such an environmental crisis presents serious health risks with the existence of diseases such as the Zika virus, although the country’s socialist regime declines to publish figures or data on the issue.