World Environment Day is celebrated annually on 5 June to raise environmental awareness and reassert humanity’s concern for environmental health and protection. To celebrate the day, SST’s African Youth Waste Network (AYWN) challenged the youth of Africa to host clean-ups across the continent. The challenge aimed to help restore the environment, in recognition of this year’s theme: Reimagine. Recreate. Restore. The challenge was simple: the youth was called on to grab their friends or family, select a dirty spot, take before and after pictures, and collect the litter in their spot.
Youth from across Africa eagerly took on the challenge by organising clean-ups within their communities. Clean-up events were hosted in South Africa (AYWN EC committee, Greener Times), Zimbabwe (AYWN champion), Tanzania (Nipefagio), Cameroon (Let’s Do it Foundation), Liberia (Environmental Rescue Initiative), and Kenya (Dajopen Waste).
One outstanding youth, South African Asithandile Ntsondwa; who is also an AYWN Eastern Cape (EC) committee member, a co-founder of the Greener Times society, and a Nelson Mandela University (NMU) student; began celebrating World Environment Day a week early. After recent taxi strikes left the NMU campus litter-strewn, Asithandile was not going to wait for World Environment Day. She and a friend started collecting litter on Sunday, 30 May, filling five big bags of waste. Asithandile, together with 17 others from the AYWN EC committee, Greener Times, and NMU continued their efforts on 5 June, collecting twelve more bags of waste over an hour and a half period. The AYWN EC Committee and Greener Times will be hosting future clean-ups to finish the work, as there is much more to be done.
The AYWN is proud of all the individuals who rose to the challenge and noted that it is encouraging to see so many African youth enthusiastic and keen to play their part in restoring and taking care of our environment.
Anyone keen to participate in a clean-up, or wants to know more about the AYWN, their events and activities, can contact the AYWN team at email@example.com.