In an effort to educate and empower communities in Zambia, the Citizen’s Environmental and Social Concern (CESCo) has established a weekly radio programme that aims to unpack a range of environmental topics.
The programme known as the ‘Real Environmental Justice’ show, was developed to address the need for awareness on environmental issues, as well as to have a greater reach to diverse audiences on a consistent basis. The show covers a range of topics, some of which include, zero waste, plastic pollution, air and water pollution, as well as climate justice. The organisation aims to reach a mix of local communities, religious leaders policymakers and other civil society organisations.
Conwell Hakapya, founder of CESCo, said that the programme tries to simplify complex environmental topics so that people can understand them and then take the necessary actions.
“A single mother living in Lusaka had for several years suffered the effects of the open burning of waste in her neighbourhood. She and her son are asthmatic and they used to have constant attacks especially in the evening when most people in the area would burn their waste – most of which is plastic and garden waste. After having listened to the Real Environmental Justice radio programme, when we discussed ‘Open Air Garbage Burning’ she learnt that she has the right to clean air and that the open burning of waste was an offence that people can go to jail for or be fined. She reported the matter to the authorities, and this was put to a stop. They are now living healthy and peaceful and environmental justice was served.”
The show has collaborated with another GAIA member in Zambia, the Centre for Zero Waste & Development (CZWD), who also focuses on awareness-raising initiatives that seek to engage with communities and policymakers on banning single-use plastic bags in Zambia, and the promotion of zero waste strategies.
Billy Lombe, founder of CZWD said that collaborating with partner organisations is critical to achieving lasting policy change for a more sustainable world.
“Working together, supporting each other and developing long-term relationships allows the organisation to achieve far more than it could achieve alone. There is hope for change in the environmental situation in Zambia due to the increasing efforts to reduce environmental issues. Environmental interest groups, international environmental NGOs, some environmentally dependent community groups with politicians acting on their behalf, and government authorities responsible for international environmental obligations have continued to work against environmental problems across the country by engaging communities and increasing environmental education and awareness on climate change, pollution, sustainability and other environmental aspects.”
CESCO and CZWD have embarked on a new plastic waste policy and awareness campaign, called Sitifuna Ma plastics which means ’We Don’t Want’’ in Nyanja, a local dialect in Zambia to ensure the message engages the local communities. The project aims to review gaps in Zambia’s EPR regulations, raise awareness on the associated dangers of single-use plastic items and document the illegal manufacture, sale and use of single-use plastics. The project is set to be launched in the second quarter of 2021.