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How the Youth Can Be Used as an Instrument for Change in Trying to Reduce Plastic Pollution


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How the Youth Can Be Used as an Instrument for Change in Trying to Reduce Plastic Pollution
Asantesana Chikopa, RCE Zomba
8th African RCE Meeting
8-10 August, 2018, Zomba, Malawi

Published in: Government & Nonprofit
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How the Youth Can Be Used as an Instrument for Change in Trying to Reduce Plastic Pollution

  2. 2. INTRODUCTION  Poor waste disposal is one of the biggest problems that most countries are currently facing. Most developing countries lack the skills and resources for effective waste management. This puts the health of humans and animals and the environment in general in danger.  Plastic pollution has become popular in different countries over the years and if not controlled, earth will be covered in plastic
  3. 3. WHAT IS PLASTIC POLLUTION?  The accumulation of plastic products in the environment that adversely affects wildlife, wildlife habitats and humans  Plastic is the general common term for a wide range of synthetic or semi synthetic organic solid materials suitable for the manufacture of industrial products  Production of plastic is high because plastics are cheap and its chemical structure makes them resistance to natural processes of degradation. Because of these two, there a high prominence of plastic pollution in the environment.
  4. 4. TYPES OF PLASTIC DEBRIS 1. PRIMARY DEBRIS  Plastic that is in its original form when collected e.g plastic bottles 2. Secondary debris  Plastics which result from degradation of the primary plastic e.g plastic remains
  5. 5. CAUSES OF PLASTIC POLLUTION  Low prices of plastics makes it easier for people to dispose them off recklessly  The inability of plastics to decompose  Poor methods of waste disposal  Illiteracy/ lack ok knowledge on the adverse effects of plastics  Poor enforcement of environmental laws
  7. 7. 1. EFFECTS ON MARINE WILDLIFE 1. Entangling and ingestions  Marine animals get entangled by plastics during their movements  Turtles mostly affected  Most times animals mistake plastic with food and end up eating, causing problems which may lead to death
  8. 8. 2. PLASTICS LITTER THE ENVIRONMENT  Plastic remain on the land because of their non-biodegradable aspect. It takes about 1000 years for plastics to decompose making the problems caused by plastics perennial.
  9. 9. 3. Plastic affects the health of human beings  Chemicals leached from some plastics used in food or beverage storage is harmful to human health leading to problems such as reproductive system abnormalities, impaired brain and neurological functions, cancer and resistance to chemotherapy  Recycling of plastic is associated with skin and respiratory problems, resulting from exposure to and inhalation of toxic fumes,
  10. 10. HOW THE YOUTH CAN BE USED AS AN INSTRUMENT FOR CHANGE  WHAT DO THE YOUTH AND PLASTIC HAVE IN COMMON?  While many feel the onus of controlling pollution should fall on the largest polluters, governments and corporations, there is a lot that the youth can do.  Around the world, one half of the population is under the age of 25 and that means primary, secondary and university students can have an enormous impact is they were to gather together to use the collective numbers to advocate for change.
  11. 11. END PLASTIC POLLUTION TEACH IN TOOL KIT This is a tool kit that was introduced by (earth day network) in order to empower the youth to help in solving environmental issues. The goal for earth day network is to diversify, educate and achieve environmental movement worldwide. The tool kit has three sections, EDUCATE, INTERNALIZE AND ACT. .
  12. 12. 1. EDUCATE When the youth become educated about the role of pollution and the many ways to reduce environmental pollutants, they take the knowledge with them into the future, when they will be in a position to effect real change. Ideas that we impact on the youth shape their actions in future. When we create a cohort of the youth who understand the risks of pollution and feel strongly about the need to keep the environment clean, we create a core constituency that will demand action and change when they come of age.
  13. 13.  Environmental education of the youth should be one of the priorities of the state educational policy in our countries. We should be able to have a system of continuous environmental education and training, with environmental education being included in all curricula of primary schools, academic lyceums, colleges and higher educational institutions.
  14. 14.  in Malawi for example, the Faculty of Law at Chancellor has several clinics dealing with different issues for example disability rights, commercial law and Bail and Litigation. Amongst the clinics we have the Environmental Justice and Sustainability Clinic which deals with educating the society and the students on environmental issues and provide solutions where necessary including litigation  However it is voluntary work and participation is not part of the continuous assessment. This leads to the lack of motivation to participate
  15. 15.  The Philippines is building up the number of students studying environment and natural resources so as to increase the number of experts interested in the area of environmental protection. School curricula place emphasis on environmental courses.  In Tanzania the government encourages the creation of jobs related to the environmental sector, and encourages students to take specialized courses in environmental management.
  16. 16. 2. INTERNALIZE  Once the youth acquire environmental education, they must be able to INTERNALISE the environmental values both at the local, regional and national level. Internalising stage involves being well accustomed to how plastic pollution happens, its root causes, and its effects. Once one knows the root causes of problems, it becomes a lot easier to try and work around solutions to those problems.
  17. 17. 3. ACT  Community empowerment with civic engagement skills necessary to take action to help plastic pollution  Once people know, they can handle tasks aimed at eradication of pollution  In Uganda for example, local communities have been given a mandate to monitor environmental crimes
  18. 18.  For raising public awareness about environmental criminality, the youth can engage in debates; drama and theatrical productions; exhibitions, public meetings at various places including schools  In Tanzania, new media technology is used. Environment media group which collaborates with personnel from the National Environmental Management Committee to ensure that information is obtained. Blogs are also used for communication
  19. 19.  The youth can be a part of criminal enforcement of environmental laws.  Once the youth know about the environmental issues they can find employment opportunities by being watch dogs of societies  In Sierra Leon for example, depending on the nature of the offence, environmental officers can arrest and handover officers to the police for prosecution.  Issues to do with unemployment can be defeated if countries can adopt this approach
  20. 20. CONCLUSION  RCE’s must work towards empowering the youth and supporting them in order to attain the sustainable development goals.  Corporation and collaboration should be promoted to come up with tangible ways eradicating plastic pollution
  21. 21. ASANTESANA