Scouts Leading Other Young People in Turning the Tide on Plastic Pollution
Scouts together with Girl Guides, University Students and Junior Achievement Club joined UN- Environment and the Clean Seas Campaign to share their progress on the implementation of the Plastic Tide Turners Challenge Badge programme since the launch in February in 2019.
The event took place at the Youth Tent in the United Nations Complex in Nairobi on the last day of the 1st UN-Habitat Assembly. In the first session of the event, participants shared stories of their experiences in the programme so far. A panel discussion bringing together key partners in the programme discussed the progress, impact, challenges, areas of future work and other ideas for scalling up the programme. Some exemplary young people were also awarded for their efforts in promoting and implementing the programme.
The Government of Kenya shared the case of a partnership they have with Coca Cola Company through the “Copa Coca Cola Interschool Football Tournament” where the school that collects the highest kilos of plastic bottles will have their football field refurbished by the company. The collection will be coordinated using an app, where a school will log into the app to inform that their collection point is full, and a garbage truck will come to collect the plastic bottles. The program is part of the company’s initiative to address plastic waste pollution and also educate participating students on the importance of a cleaner environment by taking care of plastics disposal.
Speaking in the panel, Antony Gitonga, International Commissioner for Kenya Scouts Association and a WOSM Communications Consultant said, “As Scouts, we are excited to be stakeholders in this endeavor and about the opportunities that this will provide to our young people. Our mission as Scouts is to create a better world, and a better world begins with proper use and disposal of all waste, including plastic material. We have gone ahead to integrate this topic into our youth programme; this ideally means that for us, the Plastic Tide Turners Challenge is not for the short term but becomes part and parcel of our day to day activities. I call upon all the Scouts, and non-Scouts alike, to join hands and address the plastic pollution which is increasingly becoming a global threat to marine, terrestrial and human life.”
The Plastic Tide Turners Challenge Badge programme has three levels: Entry Level, Leader Level and Champion Level. At Entry Level, young people are asked to think about how they can reduce plastic in their daily lives and get others to do the same. Once completed, they can move onto Leader Level, which involves checking the plastic footprint of schools, developing a poster campaign, or organizing an assembly or lesson on the issue. The final Champion Level involves extending advocacy efforts to the community, region or even to the national level. The programme is currently under piloting in countries; Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania and Ghana, where Scouts are leading implementors in all the countries.
The Plastic Tide Turners Challenge Badge Toolkit is available for download here. Take the challenge now and help address plastic pollution!
Photos courtesy of UN Environment.