Rwanda Plastic Free July Month Activity – Keeping nature plastic free

Engaging the young people in environmental conservation is key of sustainable development

In 2022 July 29, Global Green Growth Institute (GGGI) Rwanda in partnership with Eco Arts initiative visited Gatenga I, school located at Kigali city, Kicukiro district, Gatenga sector in plastic free July campaign with “Keep our nature Plastic free” theme. The aim of this visit was to encourage the young students to be aware of waste management in their school and their homes especially the plastic waste as well us to teach their family members the effects of plastics and how plastics can give them production such as money, tools in terms of recycling them rather than being global challenge.

Michelle Defreese, Senior officer at GGGI explain the origin of the plastics free July and how is important to our nature and why the young people need to be engaged in this campaign “This campaign was started by Rebecca Prince-Ruiz (the founder of the Plastic Free Foundation) and a small team in local government in Western Australia and is now one of the most influential environmental campaigns in the world. Millions of people across the globe take part every year, with many committing to reducing plastic pollution far beyond the month of July. We are excited to young people like you and the children committed to save our planet from plastics waste” Michelle said. Many cities around the world are facing climate changes issues where wastes especially plastic wastes are major contributor for air pollution. By 2050, Kigali city is expected to host over 3.8 millions of people hence waste quantities will as well be increasing and certainly harm the environment if continued to be managed as business as usual.

In many cases, waste makes its way into rivers, watercourses, and onto landscapes and crops. The waste collected from Kigali city are all hosted at Nduba landfill where only 2% of the collected and transported wastes to Nduba dumpsite are recycled. This results in affecting pollution to various sectors including drinking water, clogging, of the drainage system from flooding and irrigation activities. To curb or minimize the production of single use plastics, world is initiating different initiative to bun, Reduce, Reuse, Recycle and Refuse to save our planet. The sustainability of environmental protection come from engaging the youth and Children in environmental protection through that plastic free foundation established the Plastic free July.

In their respective groups GGGI and Eco Arts initiative teams help the students to understand the negative impact of plastics to our environment and positive Impact of , the students stated the effects of plastics such as: biodiversity loss, land, air and water pollution, land infertile, respiratory diseases, and other climate related changes and suggested the best solutions due to the impact of plastics such as: use of non-plastic bags, use dusters to hold plastic waste, afforestation, and taking care of existing trees and school garden. They presented what they did and GGGI provided some posters which will help them to understand the refuse, Reuse, Recycle, and Reduce as the best way of plastic free. From this study the students will get ideas about creating green jobs by exploring the plastics removal activities.

GGGI and with Eco Arts initiative provided watering cans to the student environmental club which help them to keep their school green and helped them to renew the dust bin to collect the plastic waste, this was to help the students to be aware of those cleaning materials so that they will put an effort in protecting the school environment, their home and other grounds as well.

Shumbusho Patience CEO at Eco Arts Initiative close by acknowledging the participate that “I would like to thank all the children who attend Plastic free July for their patience, parents who give permission the children as they are in holidays, specials thank to GGGI for supporting the campaign. Finally Eco arts appreciate the leader of G.S Gatenga for their effort in promoting eco club among young people and eco arts will keep working with G.S Gatenga and other schools in promoting sustainable environmental conservation and tourism activities like waste management, camp conservation, eco club strengthening and parks exploration through Eco clubs” said by patience. GGGI will continue to work with Eco Arts to engage many young people from different schools to work on the waste to resource by removing plastic waste and will help the young to be part of the environment conservations through improving their environmental clubs.