Location: Bolgatanga, Upper Eastern region of Ghana with Cleap Mop Company
Whilst I was out in Ghana, I noticed a very big problem from day one, that being: litter. There's a few issues with littering in Ghana, being a developing country there's bigger fish to fry than picking up litter, as well as the fact that many are not educated on the long term effects and the risks that litter brings. One night there was a huge fire outside of my home and I asked my Ghanaian family what was going on. 'Well it's rubbish day, they're burning all the rubbish to get rid of it'. In Ghana, it doesn't really seem to be common knowledge that burning waste is really bad. Bad for the environment, bad for our lungs. So feeling like this issue was one that needed to be addressed, myself and the rest of the team that I was working with out there decided to dedicate a little bit of time to running our own litter campaign.
Piglets running through the litter whilst we cleaned
We teamed up with a rubbish collection service called Clean Mop who provided the whole works for us: masks, gloves and litter pickers! They let us join them for a morning to pick up litter with them, and we created some leaflets to hand out with information about the risks of litter and what you can do to look after your environment. Litter can destroy plants and crops which has a devastating effect on people that rely on harvesting as their source of income. It also made me really upset to witness goats and pigs chomping on plastic, and even a chicken with its legs tied up in a plastic bag, helplessly trying to hop out of it.
I know that what developing countries like Ghana need are more action; education in schools, lobbying people in power to provide bins and back nationwide campaigns, and us in the developed countries doing our bit and working together towards the global goal of saving our planet. We can all help to do better for our earth, our animals and our environment. A plastic bag can take up to 1000 years to decompose, and as rubbish slowly rots away, it can not only be a danger on the ground, but also will release greenhouse gases such as Methane as it erodes, leading to a very devastating outcome particularly for these developing countries: climate change.
It's our responsibility to lead by example and keep our country clean, and this Spring there are things we can do to eliminate this problem:
• Dispose of rubbish properly by putting it in a secure bin, or in a plastic bag until you get home - especially this spring when you're out on a picnic.
• Cigarette butts are toxic to plants and animals and chewing gum can't be swept away, so make sure you dispose of them in a bin.
• It's a great thing that it's now 5p to get your hands on a plastic bag. Don't throw money down the drain: be sure to recycle them so that we are all using less plastic.
• Don't burn your rubbish
• Educate children about the dangers litter can do to the environment
• Run a campaign to raise awareness of how bad littering can be - you could even organise a community litter pick like we did and get everyone involved, or visit a local school.
If you'd like to go the extra mile and do a bit of volunteering yourself to help tidy up, you can visit the Keep Britain Tidy website here and get involved! Comment below if you too feel passionate about this campaign, or if you have any ideas on how we can prevent littering in our communities.
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