Data just released confirms the detection of microplastic pollution in human blood: scientists have found the presence of tiny particles in almost 80% of the people tested.
To address this worrying statistic and help End Plastic Pollution, EARTHDAY.ORG Africa supports the youth-led and youth-focused organization Social Youth Drive Foundation for their campaign #Plastic4Education. Initiated in Ghana, the initiative aims to build public awareness about the need to reduce plastic use and promotes ways to upcycle waste plastic. It provides an opportunity for local communities to earn by collecting discarded plastic and helps them understand the need to segregate waste management at source. Cleanup drives and social media help energize communities to collect plastic waste (mostly discarded Polyethylene Terephthalate products such as PET bottles) from marketplaces, individual homes, beach sides, and restaurants. The collector receives payment for each kilogram of plastic waste brought in, then cleaned and prepared for recycling and upcycling. PET bottles are filled with sand and used as bricks to construct classrooms for children.
Social Youth Drive Foundation also works with local authorities to regularize waste management policies. This includes placing of bins for waste disposal at every bus stop across the length and breadth of the country, getting the Environmental Protection Agency of Ghana to conduct awareness campaigns for peopleso that they understand the high level of toxins released by burning plastic, and mandating measures to check offenders.
In addition to vigorous promotion on social media, on-the-ground classroom sessions are conducted in rural Ghana that highlight ways to reduce and manage waste. Keeping in mind what is often said, ‘if you educate a boy, you educate an individual, but if you educate a girl, then you educate a whole nation’, the campaign ensures that girls form a sizeable percentage of those who benefit from it. Future projects include constructing shops out of waste plastic for young women to run.
In Ghana’s cities, the problem is manifold. Many urbanites regularly quench their thirsty with the water sold in plastic bottles by street vendors. Once the bottle is empty, it generally gets dumped resulting in streetsstrewn with discarded PET bottles. The streets of Accra are where the first pilot project to manage waste plastic will be run. As in rural areas, bins to be placed at high-volume disposal areas, and collected waste plastic upcycled into construction material.
To expand #Plastic4Education to other countries, on 24 March 2022, EARTHDAY.ORG and Social Youth Drive Foundation organized a webinar that brought together women leaders from GHANA, KENYA AND TANZANIA, all of whom agreed to work to work to reduce plastic consumption and widen the scientific management of generated plastic waste in their countries.
Additional information on #Plastic4Education is available at the social media handles Social Youth Drive Foundation/plastic4educatio. You can also reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org, or email@example.com / Shaweji@earthday.org
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