UN officials and political leaders have lauded the leadership shown by over 400 young Africans in global efforts to fight plastic pollution.

They were honoured at the African Youth Summit, which was organised by the UNEP in partnership with the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts, the World Organisation of the Scout Movement and Junior Achievement Africa.

It was learnt that African participants in the Tide Turners Plastic Challenge have shown leadership by raising awareness through social media, championing plastic waste collection campaigns and demonstrating sustainability in their own lives.

Development Diaries understands that the challenge, funded by the United Kingdom, has been completed by more than 225,000 young people, including 50,000 in Africa, in over 25 countries.

‘As a former girl guide, I am very proud of Tide Turners and all the inspiring young people who are part of it’, Deputy Executive Director of UNEP, Joyce Msuya, said in a statement.

‘So far, more than 50,000 young people in 18 countries across Africa have joined this important programme.

‘Let us continue this momentum, adding seven more countries to reach youth in nearly half of all African countries’.

Six young changemakers shared their stories about how they went about provoking change and inspiring their peers to join them in taking action on plastic pollution.

‘The Tide Turners Plastic Challenge gave me a great platform to pass on the message against plastic waste and share my solutions’, 22-year-old Malaysian, Fyona Seesurrun, who was honoured at the summit, said.

‘100,000 mammals and one million birds die every year from eating or getting tangled in plastic in the ocean’, UK Minister of State for Pacific and the Environment, Zac Goldsmith, said.

‘If we do nothing, the amount of plastic in the ocean is set to treble by 2025. We must take collective action now.

‘The Tide Turners are a force to be reckoned with, inspiring a whole new generation of leaders to tackle plastic pollution within their communities’.

Source: UN Environment

Photo source: Kate Ter Haar

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