Civil Society: Egypt’s 50 by 2050 Initiative Highlights Urgent Need to Address Waste in Climate Plans

Waste is Third Largest Source of Anthropogenic Methane Emissions Globally

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 11 November 2022, 12 pm EET

Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt –The Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives (GAIA) held a press conference along with Friends of the Earth Nigeria at COP27 to provide civil society’s perspective on Egypt’s impending announcement of its Global Waste Initiative 50 by 2050. The initiative sets the ambition to recycle and  treat at least 50% of waste produced in Africa by 2050. 

In this press conference, civil society and diverse experts including climate justice groups, waste picker organizers and government leaders from across the African continent emphasized the potential of waste reduction and management for climate adaptation and mitigation.

“The 50 by 2050 initiative provides us with an opportunity to scale zero waste systems for climate action in Africa and around the globe. However this initiative can only be effective if it includes organic waste management, inclusion and recognition of waste pickers, and phase out of residual waste and fundamentally moving away from incineration and other climate-polluting waste management practices that aren’t meant for Africa,” said Niven Reddy, Regional Coordinator for GAIA Africa.

Waste will be critical on the COP27 agenda as countries discuss ways to reach the Global Methane Pledge, which recognises that reducing methane, a short-lived greenhouse gas over 80 times as potent as CO2, is critical to achieving the Paris Climate Agreement’s goal of limiting global warming to 1.5˚C.  Waste is the third largest anthropogenic source of methane, primarily from landfilling organic waste. 122 countries have committed to tackling this greenhouse gas globally.

The Global Methane Pledge and the Global Waste Initiative 50 by 2050 both signal how countries are recognizing the potential of ‘zero waste’ to help meet climate targets affordably and effectively. Introducing better waste management policies such as waste separation, recycling, and composting could cut total emissions from the waste sector by more than 1.4 billion tonnes, equivalent to the annual emissions of 300 million cars – or taking all motor vehicles in the U.S. off the road for a year.   

The climate crisis has exacerbated impacts in Africa, making the need for adaptation measures more acute. Loss and damage financing and climate investments for zero waste systems in Africa can both boost climate resilience, redress historical inequities, and support local economies.

African communities are spearheading zero waste projects for adaptation, recognising the current realities they are faced with. One such strategy, composting, reduces pollution, prevents disease vectors like mosquitos and vermin, and boosts soil resilience, which helps combat flooding and droughts that threaten food security. 

Bubacar Jallow, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Environment, Climate Change & Natural Resources in The Gambia, explained: “What some may call waste is actually an incredible resource for the climate and public health. Composting food waste creates an effective fertilizer that can support greater food security in The Gambia in the face of a changing climate.”

If this initiative prioritizes the rights of waste pickers, it could also have a tremendous impact on the thousands of people working in the informal sector in the region. Waste pickers in Africa play a key role towards mitigating climate change by collecting and selling waste as a livelihood strategy, which increases recycling and reduces raw material extraction. 

Wastepicker Rizk Yosif Hanna stated: “In Egypt, the Zabaleen community recycles more than 50% of the waste they collect, and therefore must be taken into consideration. Any step in Egypt and in Africa as a whole should be built on the accumulated knowledge that exists in the informal sector, and integrate waste pickers into the decision-making and implementation.”

However, all efforts to manage waste will be fruitless unless there is a strong focus on source reduction, particularly for plastic, which is made from fossil fuels. If plastic’s life cycle were a country, it would be the fifth largest emitter of greenhouse gases in the world. 

Ubrei-Joe Ubrei-Joe Maimoni Mariere, Regional Coordinator of Friends of the Earth Africa said: “Recycling alone is not enough to address the global waste crisis. For recycling to be effective, African countries need to  start attacking sources of raw material extraction, stopping single-use plastic and reducing waste at the source.”

Notes: 

For a full list of events and spokespeople available for interview, please see our press kit: https://tinyurl.com/GAIACOP27presskit

We have recently launched a new report titled ‘Zero Waste to Zero Emissions’.  The report provides the clearest and most comprehensive evidence to date of how zero waste is critical to the climate fight, while building resilience, creating jobs, and promoting thriving local economies. You can read more about it here: https://www.no-burn.org/zerowaste-zero-emissions/ 

Press contacts:

Claire Arkin, Global Communications Lead 

claire@no-burn.org | +1 973 444 4869

Africa: 

Carissa Marnce, Africa Communications Coordinator

carissa@no-burn.org | +27 76 934 6156

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GAIA is a worldwide alliance of more than 800 grassroots groups, non-governmental organizations, and individuals in over 90 countries. With our work we aim to catalyze a global shift towards environmental justice by strengthening grassroots social movements that advance solutions to waste and pollution. We envision a just, zero waste world built on respect for ecological limits and community rights, where people are free from the burden of toxic pollution, and resources are sustainably conserved, not burned or dumped. 

Weyinmi Okotie in the Niger Delta, Nigeria.

By Careen Joel Mwakitalu

It is often a devastating loss when an active voice of change is silenced. To the communities, it means a weakened drive to change. To their respective families, it means a total reshaping of the dependants’ lives. However, to a generation, it marks a remembrance of the possibility that change is achievable and your single voice matters!

This 10th November 2022, we remember a critical voice silenced 27 years ago at Port-Harcourt. Today, on the celebration of his life, renowned Nigerian environment and political activist Ken Saro Wiwa’s story is still a torch of light for environmental justice. As a martyr of his people, ‘the Ogoni’ of the Niger Delta, Ken Saro Wiwa fought against the oppressive regime of General Sani Obacha to protect his land that was exposed to petroleum waste dumping because it is an area picked out for crude oil extraction since the 1950s.

One of the critical highlights of Ken Saro Wiwa’s work was the non-violence strategy and what it achieved. He employed a non-violent campaign against environmental degradation of the land and waters of Ogoniland, putting to play the media as an integral partner for change. The above may speak volumes to climate and environmental activists today with the diverse world of technology tools at their disposal and the unlimited capacity to communicate empowered by innovation. If he did, we could!

The current times, however, can draw more than one lesson from Ken Saro Wiwa as an activist. With modern-day activism growing more complex due to the intersectionality of issues, it is only fitting to highlight the unwavering commitment to ‘Saro Wiwa’s’ strategy of using his voice to advise the government and influence policy change. 

Foregrounding a very timely example is the extensive negative impact on the environment and livelihoods of people the Royal Dutch Company ‘SHELL’ has succeeded in destroying. Since its operation started in 1937, Shell has existed at the expense of communities and lands in the Niger delta through onshore, shallow and deep water oil exploration and production.

Relevant to modern-day activism, present activists can not only rally campaigns on virtual and physical platforms but also climb the political ladder and influence change through systems in place. The reason for the prior narrative being social, economic and political systems are very much interlinked, and decision-making for the benefit of the ordinary person can be jeopardized.

Resilience and sacrifice echo the loudest in the inspiring story of Ken Saro Wiwa. Today does not only translate to a remembrance of the fallen general Ken Saro Wiwa and the Ogoni nine but also many other vital voices of change from Africa that were silenced in lieu of justice and social development of the African people. This piece is a note of celebration carting other voices of fallen African environmentalists like Fikile Ntshangase of South Africa with the list going on.

Waste a Key Focus at COP27 as UNEP Unveils Adaptation Report and Pipeline Accelerator Initiative

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 03 November 2022, 10 am GMT 

Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt –The Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives (GAIA) will be holding a press conference along with Friends of the Earth Nigeria at COP27 to provide civil society’s perspective on Egypt’s impending announcement of its Global Waste Initiative 50 by 2050. The initiative sets the ambition to treat at least 50% of waste produced in Africa by 2050 and will address mitigation, adaptation, and implementation. 

In this press conference, civil society and diverse experts including youth climate activists, climate justice groups, and government leaders from across the African continent will reflect on how waste reduction and management is a key driver of adaptation and mitigation and should be included in international climate financing

What: Waste Critical to Reaching 1.5 Degree Target: Civil Society Responds to Africa Waste 50 Initiative 

Where: COP27 Blue Zone, Luxor

When: November 11, 12:00—12:30pm EET

Speakers: 

  • Bubacar Jallow (The Gambia) Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Environment, Climate Change & Natural Resources
  • Rizk Yosif Hanna (Egypt), Zabaleen Waste Picker Group
  • Abdallah Emad (Egypt) Convener for the Local Conference of Youth, Egypt
  • Ubrei-Joe Maimoni (Nigeria) Regional Coordinator, Friends of the Earth Africa
  • Niven Reddy (South Africa)  Regional Coordinator, GAIA Africa

The Waste Sector Will Be a Key Topic at COP27 for Mitigation, Adaptation, and Climate Finance

Waste will be critical on the COP27 agenda as countries discuss ways to reach the Global Methane Pledge, which recognises that reducing methane, a short-lived greenhouse gas over 80 times as potent as CO2, is critical to achieving the Paris Climate Agreement’s goal of limiting global warming to 1.5˚C.  Waste is the third largest source of methane, primarily from landfilling organic waste. 122 countries have committed to tackling this greenhouse gas globally.

The Global Methane Pledge and the Global Waste Initiative 50 by 2050 both signal how countries are recognizing the potential of ‘zero waste’ to help meet climate targets affordably and effectively. Introducing better waste management policies such as waste separation, recycling, and composting could cut total emissions from the waste sector by more than 1.4 billion tonnes, equivalent to the annual emissions of 300 million cars – or taking all motor vehicles in the U.S. off the road for a year.   

African communities are spearheading zero waste projects for adaptation, recognising the current realities they are faced with. One such strategy, composting, reduces pollution, prevents disease vectors like mosquitos and vermin, and boosts soil resilience, which helps combat flooding and droughts that threaten food security. 

Zero waste strategies are already showing massive potential in Africa. For example the organisation Nipe Fagio, in Tanzania, is implementing a decentralised framework for separate collection, recycling, and composting, engaging 32,000 people in Dar es Salaam and achieving 95% compliance, reducing 75% of waste in the area in just two years. Studies show that scaling these projects in the capital of Dar es Salaam would lead to a 65% reduction in sector GHG emissions, while creating 18,000 new jobs

The climate crisis has exacerbated impacts in Africa, making the need for adaptation measures more acute. Loss and damage financing and climate investments for zero waste systems in Africa can both boost climate resilience, redress historical inequities, and support local economies.

GAIA will have an international delegation of members, particularly from the Global South including several African countries, available for interview.

For a full list of events and spokespeople available for interview, please see our press kit

Notes: 

We have recently launched a new report titled ‘Zero Waste to Zero Emissions’.  The report provides the clearest and most comprehensive evidence to date of how zero waste is critical to the climate fight, while building resilience, creating jobs, and promoting thriving local economies. You can read more about it here: https://www.no-burn.org/zerowaste-zero-emissions/ 

Press contacts:

Claire Arkin, Global Communications Lead 

claire@no-burn.org | +1 973 444 4869

Africa: 

Carissa Marnce, Africa Communications Coordinator

carissa@no-burn.org | +27 76 934 6156

###

GAIA is a worldwide alliance of more than 800 grassroots groups, non-governmental organizations, and individuals in over 90 countries. With our work we aim to catalyze a global shift towards environmental justice by strengthening grassroots social movements that advance solutions to waste and pollution. We envision a just, zero waste world built on respect for ecological limits and community rights, where people are free from the burden of toxic pollution, and resources are sustainably conserved, not burned or dumped. 

Local Business Demonstrate Packing-free Practices in Dar es Salaam

GAIA member Nipe Fagio interviewed local shopkeeper Stonida P. Mwasemele, from Ubungo Msewe in Dar es Salaam.

How long has your place of business been open?

I’ve been part of this business for 16 years after I inherited this shop from my mother, who started the business here in the early 1990s.

What goods do you sell at this shop?

At my shop, we sell goods from local farms, such as flour, maize, rice, beans, coconuts, and many other food products. We also sell other goods like soap, jelly, toothpaste, soft drink etc.

Do you follow zero waste principles in your business?

My mother practised zero waste; it was their way of life a long time ago. However, due to the nature of the recent market, customers and different types of products, it makes it challenging to practise zero waste for all products that we sell to customers.

Do you think people who are your regulars, come because your product is not in plastic packaging?

Yes, most customers prefer to buy from us because of the type of packaging offered. We use cardboard packaging at a reasonable price, but some come with their own carrying bags.

What are some good lessons you have learned when running your business?

  • The best business practices are environmentally friendly;
  • We can be environmental activists by maintaining African zero waste practices in Tanzania.  

What are some of the challenges you face in your line of work?

  • Low capital & customer;
  • Market competition from other packaging materials of the same goods;
  • Some products are not sustainable for zero waste practices in Tanzania;
  • The lack of Government intervention to reduce environmental pollution.

Why should customers support businesses like yours that have been operating for years?

It is friendly to the environment and reflects African Culture.

What do you hope for future business owners in this field?

Economic recovery for zero waste practices in Africa. This will bring hope to environmentalists documenting African practices on zero waste in the business model.

What principles should they keep in mind?

  • Ensuring zero waste systems are achieved at a high level in all parts of Tanzania.
  • Government intervention towards zero waste policy in Tanzania.
  • Managing zero waste practice at the low level of the life cycle, such as at the household level to the national level. 

The Refillery, Johannesburg, South Africa

GAIA team in Africa spoke to Dom Moleta from The Refillery in Johannesburg, South Africa. Moleta is the co-founder of The Refillery, an eco-friendly grocery store.

What does zero waste mean to you?

I think there’s a few different ways of looking at it. Obviously, the ideal situation is that there is zero waste. There are a number of ways of that happening: be it biodegradable compostable products, or a fully circular product that initially comes in one form and then it can be reused, there is also products that can be used for entirely different purpose after its use. So I guess zero waste is something that at the moment, it’s not perfect and I don’t know whether it ever will be, but it’s something that we are always striving for and that it can take many different forms.

Can you tell us a little bit about your journey?

Our journey started a long time ago. It wasn’t directly linked to the stores, but we used to travel to these beautiful places and take guests to a beach where nobody lives or anything like that, and then you get there, and you go, “man, there’s rubbish everywhere”. We would go ashore first, clean up all the rubbish for half an hour, and then the guests would say, “look at this beautiful beach”. At the time, it sucked, but we thought that it was a big problem and what could we do about it? In 2018, my wife and I tried Plastic Free July for the first time when we were living in New Zealand. We had two small kids, and we thought, okay, cool, we’ll give this a go. So we said I could collect the coffee cups, water bottle, all the easy stuff, the lifestyle stuff, to kind of dip our toe in and see what it was like, what we could do, and could we maintain those things after just one month. We also saw Beau Johnson speak, which was very inspiring. I mean, she’s very normal. She’s also got kids and all that stuff. And all the points were very valid. Not for everyone, for sure, but they were very achievable. It was really hard to get to source supplies in the first place. It was tough. Nobody was interested at all because we were new to the scene. Now, as time has passed, we don’t have to look for suppliers; they approach us. So it’s definitely much nicer now.

How do you think that these stores are changing the perception of people who know little about zero waste?

We try for our stores to be as inviting as possible for everyone. We don’t want to pigeonhole it into a tree-hugger store. It’s a very normal way of living. We’re very normal people. People are already nervous when they come in, and they say it’s a bit overwhelming. I think that the stores’ appearance played a massive role in trying to take the edge off for people. But our approach has always tried to make it a mainstream alternative for everyone. We don’t need a handful of people doing it perfectly but a million people doing it imperfectly. The more people are doing it imperfectly, then that’s when you start creating greater change. Manufacturers are forced to make changes because more and more people are looking at shopping in a different manner. It is still a very niche market, but awareness is always growing.

How is your business model different from conventional mainstream supermarkets?

Interaction with people is a massive part of it. You can go to any store anywhere and someone can scan something and tell you what you owe them, and it’s the end of the transaction and engagement. So definitely, the interactions are a massive part of this for us; we have a great team that we’re always looking to help upskill and train. We get our suppliers on board as well for product information. All our team members must try what’s in store because anyone can tell you something is great. But if they’ve tried it, they’ve used it, and they know that it is a great product and can help inform consumers.
Our stores also allow you to shop for what you need. If you are trying a recipe or need a smaller quantity of something, you can just buy those in a packaging-free way so you don’t end up having money sitting in your pantry and inevitably resulting in food waste.

As consumers, we often buy a product for itself and not the packaging that comes with it. What are your perceptions of brands who are intentionally designing products for single use?

At the moment, brands operate in a place where there’s no incentive for them to change. It’s in a traditional marketplace where these big brands have always dominated, and why should they change? People are still buying it. Consumers are still looking for those products, seeking them out and purchasing them. The Refillery is one of the bigger zero waste stores in South Africa but our footprint by comparison to a traditional retailer is zero. We look to work with the right brands, where we want to change how we do business, and how they can see value in working with us. If we’re waiting for big brands to change, there’s no incentive whatsoever.

One, I would say the first thing is to shop online at the refillery and we’ll deliver it to you. Doesn’t matter where you are. We send it all over the country. Second, one would be, choose where you are shopping and why. If you’ve got access to the major retailers, wherever you live, then there’s a very good chance you also have a fruit and veg store somewhere and a butchery somewhere. So generally speaking, not much is prepackaged in fruit and veg stores or butcheries. Most people have packets and bags at home, just carry those with you and prevent taking newer ones.

Learn more about The Refillery here.

NIYA, Casablanca Morocco.

GAIA team in Africa spoke to Chama Tahiri Ivorra from NIYA in Casablanca, Morocco. Ivorra is the founder of NIYA, an innovative zero waste and cultural café.

Can you tell us about your journey in establishing this business?

I conceptualised NIYA in 2017 after working in the cultural industry in Morocco for about five years. I was frustrated by the lack of support and development in the field. Seeing the model of « tiers lieux » in France, I thought it was an excellent alternative to be able to finance cultural activities through a restaurant business. Niya is a cultural café with exhibitions, book clubs, and workshops. Fast forward five years later, all my projects in the cultural field stopped during the pandemic, and that’s when I met the person who became my business partner. As a vegan myself, I was very familiar with vegan cooking. I had experienced many restaurants abroad, so I was able to train a team and come up with my seasonal menus.

What is your current waste management practice at the restaurant?

NIYA has adopted many zero waste practices; some of our practices include:

  • We offer filtered mineralised water for free to avoid plastic or glass waste;
  • We do not use straws;
  • We use glass containers for sugar, salt and pepper, and sauces and refill them to avoid unnecessary packaging;
  • We reuse organic lemonade glass bottles, to bottle our homemade juices;
  • We try to make as many homemade preparations as possible to avoid containers. Examples include vegan cheeses and patties, ketchup & sauces, lasagna and ravioli pasta;
  • We offer a 10% discount for people who bring their own containers for takeaways. This practice hasn’t really picked up;
  • We sort our waste to facilitate the recycling of unavoidable packaging;
  • We work with local farms that bring us veggies in boxes they keep and ask other suppliers to avoid plastic and mix everything in boxes. We also use our own containers with our gelato artisan, for instance, to whom we bring our own glass bottled almond milk to fabricate the ice creams.

As a vegan restaurant, we imagine that most of the waste produced is organic. Do you have a sense of what percentage of the total waste stream is organic waste?

I would say it’s probably around 80%, but we don’t have a system yet to compost this waste.

How do sell package the goods that you sell to customers, i.e. takeaway boxes?

We use Kraft packaging for deliveries, take-away bags and bamboo cutlery. We try to avoid over-packaging.

How have you found working with wholesale distributors?

We receive most of our goods in cardboard boxes from distributors.

What are some good lessons you have learned when running your business?

I have learned that it is not so complicated to do things differently and accompany people towards a different lifestyle. We need to uphold our principles, and so far, we haven’t been met with much resistance. We have also attracted a community of people that resonates with our practices.

What are some of the challenges you face in your line of work?

As we work with several small businesses and alternative farms, we are mostly challenged with the regularity of our suppliers, so we have to be flexible. Our customers also understand that we work with fresh goods only and they aren’t too frustrated when something is sold out or not available. We also try to avoid food waste and carefully measure our daily production and the portions we offer so that people are full and satisfied but don’t waste food.

What do you hope for future business owners in this field? What principles should they keep in mind?

Filtered water is a practice that should be mandatory. I understand that there’s a whole industry that we would be threatening, but it would be about time that people move to a different practice and stop selling water. It is totally absurd to me. There are also so many little ways to avoid individual packaged stuff, I wish some restaurants would put more effort into this. Furthermore, it helps to reduce processed foods.

Vegan or not, the most important thing for me is to make food from scratch, not only for health and quality reasons but also because it is automatically correlated with a reduction of packaging and waste.

Chama Tahiri Ivorra.

Learn more about NIYA here!

Directly translated as “give me the broom” in Swahili, Nipe Fagio is a true pioneer of the waste movement in Tanzania. 

Nipe: A Swahili word which means grant me, give me, allow me or let me. The term in this instance is also being used to mean empower, enable, facilitate or equip.

Fagio: A Swahili word which means broom, a cleaning tool. The theme here is to empower society with knowledge to create habits, customs and activities geared toward an ethic of self responsibility for the creation of a clean and healthy community.

Plastics Free Africa

Nipe Fagio‘s Executive Director Ana Lê Rocha talked to us about the collaborative work that the group is doing in Tanzania and the East African Region.

“According to our 4-year trend analysis, about 76% of waste found along the coast and in the environment in Tanzania is plastic! This tells us that we need to act fast to address the entire lifecycle of plastic.”

“I’m grateful for the work that my dedicated colleagues at Nipe Fagio and GAIA are doing to achieve zero waste in Tanzania, stop plastic pollution and advocating for a single-use plastics-free East African region.”

Stay Connected

To learn more about Nipe Fagio and the work that they do, check their website and follow them on social media!

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Twitter

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Photo Credits: CFEW, Nigeria (2022)

By Zamawela Shamase

Center For Earth Works (CFEW), a research-driven youth-led non-governmental organisation that is passionate about securing the Earth, held a two-day training for young volunteers on the 9th and 10th of June, 2022, at the Center for Earth Work office in Jos, Plateau State Nigeria.

The training was created to involve youth in addressing the adverse effects of climate change, as they will be impacted in the future. It also aimed to train youth to drive change in their communities and share basic knowledge of volunteerism. Furthermore, in light of the increasing climate anxiety youth are facing, in conjunction with social isolation and burnout, CFEW identified that there was a need to delve into wellness topics in the training. 

“The goal is for advocates to learn tools to care for themselves and colleagues, reduce stress, improve relationships and leadership performance while promoting a sense of well-being and renewed strength,” said Benson Dotun Fasanya, team lead at CFEW.

The volunteer training was promoted on social media and targeted youths. The majority of the trainees consisted of undergraduate students from the local university. In total, nine youths were trained to become volunteers. In addition to this, there were three facilitators from supporting NGOs in Nigeria in attendance. 

The agenda for the training was centred around the following topics: the concept of volunteerism, community and resource mobilization, storytelling, monitoring and evaluation, SDGs for climate, reporting and documentation of project activities, volunteer self-care, support and avoiding burnout. 

These sessions were discussed comprehensively, and at the end of the training, the volunteers had a clear understanding of what volunteerism entails its advantages and disadvantages. As well as the importance of monitoring and evaluation in helping an organisation achieve the goals and objectives of a programme and measuring the success of programmes carried out. The session on storytelling and its use in communicating relevant information about particular issues was also greatly appreciated by the participants.

After the training, the trainees were incorporated into the CFEW volunteer network, where they will implement what they learned from the training through practical work experiences in the organisation and engagements with the community, both online and physically.

The volunteers have been assigned to various departments in the organisation, such as communications, programmes and research. They have also been engaged in various advocacy visits creation of programs and content for our various social media handles. 

The training was funded by the Wellness and Contemplative Practice Support from Global Alliance for incinerator alternatives (GAIA). For more updates on CFEW’s work, follow them on social media: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram

Ends. 

Photo Credits: End Plastic Pollution, Uganda (2022)

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.

Follow their work for more updates! Facebook, Twitter, Instgram.

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