End Plastic Pollution’s Plastic Free Campus Program
By Zamawela Shamase
To celebrate Plastic Free July, End Plastic Pollution, a youth lead Ugandan environmental organisation, welcomed Kkan High School into their Plastic Free Campus Program.
The organisation’s Plastic Free Campus program was launched in March 2021 in partnership with Break Free From Plastic. Since its establishment, the program has grown into a network of twelve active schools and four universities located in five districts and others within Kampala City and Mbarara City.
Kkan High School joins St. Andrews Primary school, Hillside International School, Victorious High School, Kiboga SDA Primary School, Kings Way College, Kiboga District Administrative School, Islamic Center Primary School, Mbarara Light High School and Kansanga Primary School. End Plastic Pollution is also engaging students at Universities, these include; Kampala International University, Makerere University, International University of East Africa, and Bishop Stuart University in Mbarara.
Some of the successes of the program involve engaging over five thousand students and mentoring six active environment clubs in six schools. As a result of this program, three schools have completely restricted the use of “Kaveera” single-use plastic packaging bags in school canteens. One school further restricted visitors from carrying any single-use plastic packaging items when coming to the school.
Youth leaders at End Plastic Pollution are tasked with reaching out, mobilising and engaging these schools. This is an open program with no criteria for entry. The organisation welcomes and encourages as many schools as possible, and they are planning country-wide school tours to introduce more schools to the Plastic Free Campus Program.
“We believe that schools and universities play an important role in developing the mindset, awareness, and shaping habits of future citizens and leaders. Our organisation is helping students understand the science behind plastics, their harmful impacts on people and the environment as well as the need to go plastic-free. Young people have much to lose if there is no stop to the system causing destruction,” Nirere Sadrach, founder and organiser at End Plastic Pollution.
Kkan High School, located in Namasuba, a suburb in Makindye Division, Kampala City, joined Plastic Free Campus Program with a community of over 500 young people. During End Plastic Pollution’s visit to the high school, they discussed plastic’s impacts on the soil and water and what this means for the many Ugandans depending on Agriculture for food and earning income. Furthermore, students were engaged on ways to avoid single-use plastics and what information they can share with their parents, friends and people in their local communities.
After the organisation conducted the seminar on organising, Kkan High School is taking serious steps to eliminate the use of plastics within the school premises by installing more waste collection points and teaching resident students how to sort their waste while in their dormitories. Moreover, the school will continue conducting seminars on plastic pollution for their learners. They are also planning a sports event and cleanup in the suburb of Namasuba, and the Slums of Katwe come next school term.