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Youth Vs Plastic Pollution

Jun 8, 2023 | Articles | 0 comments

Photo by Antoine GIRET on Unsplash

This article was written by Amanda Chenai Makombe to commemorate World Environmental Day. She is a NOREC Exchange Participant (2023) based at Youth Alive! Kenya. She is a creative and an environmental enthusiast.

Every single person in the world has either come across a bottle of water or at least heard of one. Plastic surrounds us, from water bottles to carrier bags. Undeniably, plastic has become an integral part of human life worldwide, bringing simplicity to our lives in countless ways. However, the dire and negative impact of plastic on our environment, animals, and humans is undeniable due to improper disposal and inefficient waste management systems in most African countries.

Kenya, a country with rich cultural heritage and natural beauty, is facing an environmental crisis. Pollution and waste not only threaten the survival and existence of the citizens but also the ecological system. Young people need to understand this emergency and respond with urgency to the environmental crisis. Amidst the climate and environmental crisis, disasters or extreme weather events hit the most vulnerable people the hardest.

The increase in natural disasters due to environmental hazards displaces women and girls, making them vulnerable to sexual abuse and assault. A recent Op-Ed by The Guardian cited that Nairobi, Kenya’s capital with a population of nearly 4.4 million people, generates more than 2,400 tones of solid waste every day – a fifth of which is plastic. Plastic is one of the most severe environmental pollutants. The world produces over 400 million tons of plastic every year, of which less than ten percent is recycled. Scientifically, plastic takes 20 to 500 years to decompose depending on the material’s structure and environmental factors.

In a world grappling with the impacts of the climate crisis, I am disheartened by the littering and illegal dumping of rubbish in both urban and rural parts of Kenya. Plastic and waste pollution are becoming one of the most pressing environmental issues. We need to think, reflect, and act beyond World Environment Day. #BeatPlasticPollution echoes the need for collective action from individuals, communities, and governments to address waste management. Imagine a world without plastics, a litter-free environment – we all look forward to one.

There is a need for collective efforts as we blend government policy reforms with tech-based solutions and our actions to shape responses to plastic pollution. The time is now – Youth versus Plastic. The power to combat the environmental crisis lies in our hands.

Youths can commit to growing trees and raising awareness through peer to environmental education. Let us discard single use plastic bags and opt for alternative sustainable options. 

As  young people we can develop smart and innovative solutions to tackle plastic pollution. We can make plastic unpopular by  promoting plastic free products and raise public awareness on environmental criminality-pollution. By taking individual action to REDUCE , REUSE  and RECYCLE we help sustain the environment.

 

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