GYEM Tackles Plastic Pollution

Some of the participants at the event

The Ghana Youth Environmental Movement (GYEM) has hosted the Power Shift Environmental Summit on World Environment Day 2018 in Accra on Tuesday, June 5.

Power Shift – the largest annual youth-led environmental summit for young people in Ghana – brought over 250 young people and industry leaders to share ideas and knowledge to take action on the scourge of plastic pollution in the country under the theme ‘End Plastic Pollution’.

According to the co-ordinator of GYEM, Mr. Gideon Commey, the solution to the plastic problem requires a multi-stakeholder collaboration which should include government, academia, industry players, entrepreneurs, the media, civil society and the general public to act together towards a sustainable solution. He highlighted young people to be resourceful change agents who can bring solutions to the problem when empowered with the right tools, techniques and technology.

The summit showcased the works of young entrepreneurs from COLIBA Ghana, Environment 360, YEG Designs and Surge Digital, who are contributing to the solution through various innovative ventures. The key speaker was Dr. Zanetor Agyeman Rawlings, Member of Parliament for the Klottey Korle Constituency. Dr. Rawlings indicated that the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) could be achieved if young people collaborated to tackle the scourge of plastic pollution in our communities. She added that participants could start from their homes and schools by separating their waste into organic and inorganic components.

The main presenter for Power Shift, Mr. Joshua Amponsem of Green Africa Youth Organization (GAYO), took participants through the threats posed by plastics to humans and ocean life forms. He admonished them to live eco-friendly lifestyles, change their attitudes and influence other youth in their communities and workplaces to avoid ‘single-use’ plastic.

The Power Shift Environmental Summit was also used to remember the works of the late Akua Akyaa Nkrumah of the Green Ghanaian Initiative (GGI) – an environmental technologist who passed on last year. She did incredible work in the environmental space through various campaigns and initiatives aimed at recycling and effective waste management.

The programme also saw speakers from the Ghana Climate Innovation Centre (GCIC), Youth Volunteers for the Environment (YVE-Ghana), Let’s Do It Ghana, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), among other speakers.

Power Shift was arguably the first public ‘No Plastic Event’ in Ghana. As a result, drinks and food were served in calabash and leaves respectively to the hundreds of participants.