The Green Africa Youth Organization (GAYO) under its Sustainable Enterprise Driven Solution Management initiative has joined forces with 21 civil society and governmental organizations in the country to cleanup the Sango Beach, one of the densely polluted beaches located at Teshie, a suburb Accra in the Greater Accra Region.
The exercise aims to help tackle environmental pollution in a bid to achieve the zero-plastic waste agenda in Ghana.
The event dubbed: “Beach Cleanup & Brand Audit” brought together participants from 21 governmental and non-governmental organizations who are partners including volunteers in numbers who converged at the venue during the early hours of Saturday September, 17, 2022, a day set aside globally to commemorate the World Cleanup Day.
The participants thoroughly cleanup, tidied and collected plastic waste including other pollutants which poses threat to fishes and inhabitants at the Sango beach.
The well patronized exercise was climaxed with a brand audit, an initiative by GAYO which witnessed the record keeping (sorting/analysing) of data on plastic waste to help identify the companies responsible for plastic pollution in the country with the view of holding them accountable.
The event which came on the theme: “Break Free From Plastic,” was organized as part of activities to commemorate this year’s World Cleanup Day; a global event which seeks primarily to unite across the world millions of volunteers, governments and organizations in the 191 members’ countries to tackle the global waste problem while building the new and sustainable world.
It was initiated by GAYO in collaboration with its Echo-Club Campus Chapters and supported by the Green Springs Global, Global Citizens, SESA Recycling, The GEF Small Grants Programme, La Dade Kotoku Municipal Assembly, Ledzokuku Municipal Assembly, G17 – University Ambassadors Consortium, the Human Rights Reporters Ghana-NGO and the Environmental Science Students’ Association.
Other partners include the Glittering Stars International, Geography Students’ Association, the Green Innovation for People and Nature, Agribusiness Students’ Association of Ghana, Water and Sanitation Students’ Association, the Radio Windy Bay 98.3 FM and the International Association of Students in Agriculture.
In his message to commemorate the 2022 World Cleanup Day in Ghana, Nana Mintah articulates that,
“As we strive to adapt and mitigate climate change impact, I know for sure there are frustrations but so are there opportunities to create a space where we can look back and be proud as future generations see our efforts to correct the mess that we created in the first place.”
“I am strong about plastic waste management. I believe it is time we stood together to work towards eliminating plastic pollution as it contributes significantly to climate change impacts. The earth is the only place of our survival and we have the obligation to be effective stewards to preserve, protect and restore for now and future generations” he concludes.
Touching on brand audit as an intervention, Jacob Johnson Attakpah, Project Coordinator of the Green Africa Youth Organization (GAYO) observed that it is a citizen science initiative that involves recording data on plastic waste to help identify the companies responsible for plastic pollution and hold them accountable.
He further explained that it seeks to advance the scope from just clean-ups and anti-plastics use campaigns to tracing each producer and holding them accountable in managing their waste generation.
Mr. Attakpah stressed that his outfit is making a paradigm shift from the conventional campaigns on waste and plastics which largely focused on the consumers’ “dos” and “don’ts” deemed as an ultimate goal to influence policy on the ban on single-use plastics.
“As the call on the elimination of plastic waste is on the crescendo, the alternative have been laid bare by GAYO which includes a complete ban on single-use plastic in Ghana to follow in the footsteps of the likes of Kenya.
It is mainly by this means will there be prohibition on their production, distribution or use. This, GAYO believes offers the upper hand in achieving zero-plastic waste in Ghana”.
The world continues to sit on a time bomb as plastic waste is not properly managed especially for developing countries.
Plastic pollution significantly contributes to climate change. They cause land and water pollution, enhance greenhouse gas emissions, devalue marine ecosystems, and threaten wildlife and biodiversity. Chemicals released by plastic waste render soil unproductive, thereby affecting food security.
GAYO is a youth-led gender-balanced advocacy group that focuses largely on environmental health and community development. They operate around four thematic areas which include: capacity building, climate change, disaster risk reduction, and circular economy.