High Expectations for the BFFP 2023 Youth Summit

Zero Waste Durban team with volunteers at a brand audit hosted at a local University in 2022

Opinion by Zero Waste Durban

Zero Waste Durban is a youth-led, youth-focused organisation, so we were ecstatic to hear the 2023 International Break Free From Plastic Youth Summit announcement! 

Moreover, our founder and coordinator, Taylen Reddy, was approached to be the coordinator for representation of the Africa region at the Youth Summit. We believe this summit is much needed, serving as a platform for young people in the Global South to share their skills, knowledge and lived experiences in unity to tackle the plastics crisis.

It may also serve as an introduction to the plastics crisis for many. This is crucial as INC negotiations towards a legally binding global plastics treaty are upon us. We hope that the summit can bring about encouragement and hope among young people. Furthermore, it is our wish that together we can influence large Fast Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG) companies to change their destructive systems and that we can hold multinational corporations accountable for undermining legislative practices of waste reduction by distributing substantial amounts of single-use plastics in the Global South, where we barely have the infrastructure required to deal with it.

Maxine Govender, Deputy Coordinator of Zero Waste Durban, states that: 

“The plastics crisis is getting progressively worse. As the younger generation, we are experiencing the severe impacts of decades of irresponsible and excessive use of fossil fuels, production of plastics and ineffective waste management systems. By influencing today’s youth with a change of mindset and empowering them with capacity-building knowledge, we can improve the planet’s state and preserve and sustain it for future generations. Fundamental changes are required to repair and mitigate the damage done to the earth, and the Youth Summit is an amazing opportunity to take a step towards that goal.” 

We are hoping for great representation and participation of the African region at the Youth Summit, as many of our countries are exploited and subjected to the clutches of waste colonialism. There will surely be something for everybody. We look forward to seeing the many opportunities to participate in Break Free From Plastic global campaigns presented at the summit, such as the brand audit programme and preparation for the 2023 Global Day of Action.