The United Nations University Institute for Natural Resources in Africa (UNU-INRA) has joined Hipsters of Nature and other environmentalists to mark this year’s World Environment Day with an environmental challenge dubbed “Bottle Up Accra”, which aimed at raising awareness of the need to keep our beaches clean and the importance of recycling plastic bottles and bags. World Environment Day is the principal day set aside by the United Nations to create awareness and encourage countries and communities around the world to take important steps in protecting the environment.
Various schools from the Accra metropolis participated in the environmental challenge held at Labadi Beach. The students, who were put in different groups, collected used plastic bottles on the beach that pose danger to the sea, fish and humans.
In the 20-minute competition time, the students collected about 1,290 waste bottles, which were put in a 3-meter high wire mesh bottle that was built at the entrance of Labadi Beach to raise awareness of the importance of keeping our environment clean and the need for recycling our plastic and other waste in order to protect the environment.
UNU-INRA, as one of the lead sponsors of the event, and believes that such programmes will sensitise people to the need to properly dispose of waste in order to keep the environment clean.
Commenting on the institute’s association with the event, UNU-INRA Director Dr. Elias T. Ayuk emphasised the institution’s commitment to environmental protection through research and capacity development.
“As a natural resources management think tank for the UN, its people and member states in Africa, one of our programme areas at UNU-INRA is on land and water resources management; and we are particularly happy to be part of this challenge because of our commitment to the protection of our ecosystems through evidence-based research to inform policy”, stated Dr. Ayuk.
At the end of the competition, Covenant International School (CIS) emerged as the overall winning school for collecting the highest number of bottles from the beach within the stipulated time. CIS was followed by Star Bethany International School, and New Life International School which took third place. Special prizes including certificates were given to the winning schools, all from Labadi, with the other schools also receiving certificates of participation.
For the organisers, Hipsters of Nature, it is imperative now more than ever, to get the attention of the next generation who will have to deal with the environmental damages caused by the present generation.
“Plastic water bottles are doing a significant amount of damage to the continent’s natural resources and looking at the present state of development around the continent, the rate of environmental pollution is said to rise. Ignoring the implications of these plastic bottles on our beaches will have a significant repercussion on fish and other marine stocks, noted, the Founder of Hipsters of Nature, Beatrice Dossah.
Hipsters of Nature is therefore appealing to the government, schools and other organisations in the country to take active roles in promoting environmental education. They are also calling on other environmental activists and institutions to emulate the example of the sponsors to be part of such events in order to educate people on the need to protect our environment.