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WASUP mounts awareness on the dangers of single-used plastics

By Alhaji Haruna Sani

The Chief Pan African Ambassador of World Against Single-Used of Plastic (WASUP), who also doubles as Executive Director, Advocacy Network Against Irregular Migration, Sheku Bangura  has launched an awareness raising campaign against the use of single-used plastic, which he said remains a serious threat to humans, animals and environment in Sierra Leone.

WASUP launched the awareness campaign on Thursday April 19, 2022, during a press conference organized at their head office, 3 Bai-Bureh Road – Ferry Junction in Freetown.

The event attracted the presence and participation of newsmen, some local Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) and other international partners via zoom meeting.

Giving a background about WASUP, Wurie Mamadu Tamba Barrie, Pan African Secretary and Communications Lead, said WASUP is a British organisation founded by Professor Abdul Rashid Gatrad OBE in 2017 and was launched on the 23rd January 2019 at Mano Hospital.

He added that WASUP is about educating, raising awareness through meetings, animation productions, posters, videos talks, community cleaning, tree planting and more.

He said Africa is going to use the following among others to raise awareness in all sectors of the community-schools, businesses, places of worship etc. through talks events and the social media, educate children in schools about the dangers of plastic and teach them about recycling, liter picking both in streets and the waterways by all sectors of the community, putting pressure on manufacturers and supply chains to use less plastic in their packaging.

He said 22 African countries platforms have been set up including Sierra Leone, South Africa Zimbabwe, Lesotho, Ghana Liberia, Guinea, Nigeria, Cote D-voire, Kenya, Zambia, Algena, Togo, Uganda Tanzania, Ethopia, DR Congo, Congo Brazaville, Gambia and Burkina Faso Burundi and Senegal.

The Chief Pan African Ambassador of WASUP, Sheku Bangura said they will be launching WASUP Africa through introduction letters to MDAs, embassies, donors, resource mobilization, awareness raising & education, policy advocacy & dialogue.

He said by 2025 plastic in the ocean will double and that by 2050 plastic in ocean will weigh more than fish – a 500 increase in weight of plastics.

The Chief Pan African Ambassador explained to newsmen that worldwide over 300 million tons of plastic is produced every single year, half of which is single-used plastics.

“Plastics do not fully decompose and instead just continually break down into smaller and smaller pieces called micro plastics. These micro plastics pose a huge risk to wildlife and are extremely difficult to clean up. Every piece of plastic ever created still exists on our planet today,” he said.  

He said their campaign is pegged on four principles which included reduce – to reduce the use of single-used plastic, reuse – choose to use re-usable plastic, refuse – avoid the use of single-used plastics and recycle – use plastic that can be recycled.

He alluded that not only is plastic estimated to kill millions of marine animals and seabirds each year, but it’s also contaminating seafood that humans have relied on for millennia, particularly with micro plastics in animals’ guts. He affirmed that addiction to plastic also has negative impacts on the climate.

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