The youth of Africa is a powerful agent for change, giving voice to finding solutions to plastic pollution challenges, including its effect on the oceans. Making waves in South Africa are a number of passionate youth, including Sophia Finestone, creator of her school’s eco-club; Jemima and Gabriel Reilly, who created the idea of Munch the recycling deposit; and Jessica Schilz, who walked 316km in one month to raise awareness on plastic pollution after she was diagnosed with Idiopathic Scoliosis. In the Eastern Cape, two of the African Youth Waste Network’s (AYWN) very own Eastern Cape Committee members, Saudiqa Benjamin and Asithandile Ntsondwa, are leading the charge for change with Greener Times. An environmental initiative started in 2019, Greener Times aims to educate the public about sustainability, cleaning and protecting the oceans, and inspire collaborative efforts from all high school and university students to work towards a greener future.
“Throughout my life, I have been drawn to nature and, as I went about my years of schooling, I further developed my love and drive for protecting, promoting, and preserving the environment,” said Benjamin. “This is one of the key reasons I started Greener Times with my co-partner, aimed at promoting environmental awareness and conservation.”
Through Greener Times, Benjamin and Ntsondwa organise clean-ups, putting in the effort to recycle the waste they collect, and share links to relevant webinars and workshops that their supporters can get involved in. The activists, having met through their studies in a BSc in Environmental Sciences, found they share a burning passion to help protect the planet. “When we saw the lack of active environmental organisations in Port Elizabeth (Gqeberha), we decided to play our part by bringing in university students and high school learners to our clean-ups, as a start,” the co-founders said.
To join the Greener Times WhatsApp group, click here. The AYWN, a project of SST, aims to give the youth a platform for their voice to be heard as change agents and encourage them to take ownership of their initiatives. For more about the AYWN, and how you can become an agent of change, be sure to visit the official AYWN page here.