World Environment Day
The World Environment Day (WED) is observed on June 5 every year to raise global awareness on positive environmental action to protect planet Earth. The WED is run by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and since it began in 1974, it has grown to become a global platform for public outreach widely celebrated in over 100 countries. To mark the 2018 World Environment Day (WED), GWS took action together with the Australian High Commission, the US Embassy, the USAID funded West Africa Biodiversity and Climate Change (WABiCC) Program, and Kali Etch to raise awareness on the plastic crises. We jointly celebrated the 2018 World Environment Day under the theme “Beat Plastic Pollution.” Annually, Ghana produces 1.7 million tons of plastics, most of which are discarded after being used once. Plastic bags block waterways which exacerbate natural disasters and provide breeding grounds for mosquitoes and pests; block the airways and digestive tracts of hundreds of species; release toxic chemicals into animal tissues thereby entering the human food chain; and damage the nervous system, lungs and reproductive organs. Dignitaries present at the event included their Excellencies Andrew Barnes (the Australian High Commissioner to Ghana) and Robert P. Jackson (US Ambassador to Ghana), Mr. Joseph Kofi Adda (Minister for Sanitation and Water Resources) and showbiz celebrities/media personalities. The event brought together 35 Wildlife Club members and 120 other participants from both the private and public sectors. There were exhibitions from Wildlife Clubs of Ghana that highlighted both the beauty of marine life juxtaposed with images of their vulnerability to plastic pollution. The schools that participated were St. Martin de Porres School, Sakumono School Complex and Mothernest Montessori School. At the event, Government announced the allocation of GH¢ 200
million (US$42 million) for the management of sanitation in Ghana. Forty-five (45) schoolchildren received professional training through an art workshop to upgrade their skills in converting discarded plastics into sellable products. The event served as a platform for 60 participants to pledge and commit to reducing their plastic use to protect Ghana’s environment.