by Saud Abu Ramadan
GAZA, Feb. 11 (Xinhua) -- Streets of the densely populated Gaza Strip had been full of garbage several months ago after cleaning employees staged on a strike, which inspired Mohamed Neirab, a young Palestinian engineer, to think up a solution to the issue.
In late 2012, a factory was established to recycle garbage in southern Gaza Strip near the Palestinian-Egyptian borders, where the cities of Rafah and Khan Younis located and 370 tons of garbage was produced ever day.
"The idea is simple and aims to protect Gaza Strip environment from the accumulation of garbage," Neirab said.
At the factory built up near the city of Rafah, loads of garbage was brought in, got weighted, and then went to the process of classification with the help of mini-bulldozers.
"We assorted the garbage, mainly plastic, glass and metal pieces as well as waste paper," said Fatima, known as Um Mohamed, who is in charge of another 25 female workers to classify garbage.
Fatima, a 37-year-old mother of six children, said her monthly income fro working at the factory is 1,000 Israeli shekel (about 270 U.S. dollars). "At least it can help my family."
Some 40 people, 26 of them women, work at the factory. They work eight hours a day, 22 days a month and are paid about 300 U.S. dollars every month.
Neirab said all the garbage was gathered and "packed for remanufacturing," adding that all the machines in the factory were made by Palestinian experts. The Japanese government financed the project with one million dollars through the United Nations Development Program (UNDP).
"The factory itself is a great challenge to the Israeli siege that has been imposed on the Gaza Strip since 2007," said Sobhi Abu Rodwan, mayor of Rafah city, adding that "The Gaza economy benefits a lot from the project and hundreds of job opportunities were created."
There are three major garbage landfills in the Gaza Strip, which has currently a population of 1.7 million who produces more than 600 tons of garbage everyday.