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The Fight to End Plastic Pollution

Written by CorpsAfrica/Malawi Volunteer Ms. Ireen Kanjala

Plastic is threatening our planet’s survival, from poisoning our water sources and land to disrupting human health. Environmentally, plastics have proven to be a growing problem. This is because they are made from petroleum or natural gases, which are non-renewable resources extracted and processed using energy-intensive techniques that destroy fragile ecosystems. The manufacturing of plastics, as well as the disposal/destruction of plastic, pollutes the air, land, and water leaving the earth vulnerable.

World Earth Day is dedicated to providing the information and inspiration needed to fundamentally change human attitudes and behavior about the earth and its ecosystems. It also provides an opportunity to raise public awareness around the world on the challenges regarding the well-being of the planet and all the life it supports. Earth day recognizes that it is our responsibility to achieve a balance among the economic, social, and environmental needs of present and future generations – as called for in the 1992 Rio Declaration. This year for World Earth Day the theme was “Ending Plastic Pollution”.

Today’s youth are tomorrow’s leaders; they deserve a healthy environment in which to study, learn, and grow. Taking part in ending plastic pollution is a step closer to ensuring a clean and safe environment for all. The community members and the youth in my community are slowly adopting different efficient ways of reducing plastic pollution, such as:

  1. Making balls from plastic waste to use as soccer balls.
  2. Using old, recycled newspapers to make paper bags for grocery shops (commonly known as kiosks) in an attempt to end the use of the commonly used thin blue plastic bags.
  3.   Separating plastic and organic waste when disposing.
    4.    Reusing plastic bottles for decorative purposes and other innovative household utensils.

    As a way to continue our fight against plastic pollution, we are following three simple steps adopted from Earth day Network, an organization that leads Earth Day Worldwide:

    1. Learn: Get more information involving the problem of plastic pollution.
    2. Act:  Create a personal plastic plan to track our progress and share about what we are doing personally to end plastic pollution.
    3. Engage: Get more information on how to organize events to end plastic pollution, tell others about the “End Plastic Pollution” Campaign, and make a pledge to reduce our use of plastic.

Learning and being involved in celebrating World Earth Day has been interesting especially when sharing ideas on how we can reduce plastic pollution in our community. Over 50 youth in my community have pledged to join the fight to end plastic pollution. Hopefully there will be more pledges as the fight continues. Happy belated World Earth Day!


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