Liberia: Youth Group to Launch Prevention of Plastic Pollution Campaign

Monrovia — United Youth for Peace and Reconciliation (UYFPAR) under the theme, "A Clean Environment Is Healthy for Human Life," will on December 13 and 14, 2019 launch a cleaning up program in Buchanan City, Grand Bassa County.

UYFPAR Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Sampson R. Harris said members of his organization are carrying on the cleaning up program because plastic pollution is the accumulation of plastic objects and particles, including plastic bottles that adversely affect wildlife, their habitat and humans.

Says Harris: "Plastics are inexpensive and durable, and as result levels of plastic production by humans are high. However, the chemical structure of most plastics renders them resistant to many natural processes of degradation, as a result they are slow to degrade. Together, these two factors have led to a high prominence of plastic pollution in the environment."

He continued that plastic pollution can afflict land, waterways and oceans and it is estimated that 1.1 to 8.8 million metric tons (MT) of plastic wastes enter the ocean from coastal communities each year. Living organisms, particularly marine animals, can be harmed either by mechanical effects, such as entanglement in plastic objects, problems related to ingestion of plastic waste, or through exposure to chemicals within plastics that interfere with their physiology. Effects on humans include disruption of various hormonal mechanisms.

UYFPAR CEO stressed that as of 2018, about 380 million tons of plastic is produced worldwide each year and from the 1950s up to 2018, an estimated 6.3 billion tons of plastic has been produced worldwide, of which an estimated 9% has been recycled and another 12% has been incinerated. This large amount of plastic waste enters the environment, with studies suggesting that the bodies of 90% of seabirds contain plastic debris. In some areas there have been significant efforts to reduce the prominence of free range plastic pollution, through reducing plastic consumption, litter cleanup and promoting plastic recycling.

The organization is a charitable organization based in Liberia and it has two main goals.

Its first goal is to prevent the marine environment from plastic pollution and the second is to inform and raise awareness on the reduction and recycling of plastic.

"Our aim is to achieve this through educational seminars in schools, conferences and through joint actions with other NGOs, but mainly through sports.

"We consider sports in Liberia to be one of the best means to spread the message for environmental protection due to the fact that sports engulfed all ages and promotes a healthy wellbeing."

According to the UYFPAR CEO, they also intend to add one more element to sports, environmental protection; adding: "because we have seen many plastic bottles and wastes from running or swimming events to end up in the streets in Liberia or into the oceans. So our commitment is to organize sustainable sport events, contributing to local communities, eliminating plastic pollution while addressing waste and their environmental footprints."

"We want this commitment to be part of every sport event and sustainability to be built into every activity of the organization, rather than to be a slave on action. Our mission is to maintain peace and eliminate ocean plastic pollution through preventive sustainable actions."

"The second part of our organization, is environmental restoration, and it covers through street clean ups and voluntary actions to clean and support every community polluted by plastic."

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