The Green Africa Youth Organization (GAYO) has formed a ground-breaking alliance with the Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives, Human Rights Reporters Ghana, and the Climate Journalism Network Ghana to host an ‘Anti-Incineration and Plastic Pollution Campaign Media Conference’ in Accra on Friday, August 11, 2023.
This conference aims to increase public awareness of the distressing effects that plastic pollution and incineration methods have on the environment and our health while equipping media professionals with the skills, resources, and information they require to report on these complex issues in a clear, thorough, and interesting manner.
During the conference, GAYO and partners emphasized the harms of incineration, a waste treatment process that involves the combustion of organic substances contained in waste materials. Incineration and similarly related processes generate heat, gas, steam, and ash. However, these by-products of incineration contain hazardous substances that can result in environmental pollution and pose a serious risk to human health.
The conference also outlined the escalating problem of plastic pollution. Plastics, typically made from petrochemicals, are non-biodegradable.
Plastic pollution has severe consequences for our landscapes, oceans, and wildlife and is considered one of the most severe forms of pollution due to its long-lasting impact and the difficulty of containment and mitigation.
Alongside numerous expert panelists, conference attendees got access to extensive scientific research, data, and first-hand experiences showing the dire consequences of incineration and plastic pollution.
These discussions aim to spur public engagement and foster a deeper understanding of the environmental conservation space.
Additionally, the conference also include dedicated sessions on responsible journalism with relation to reporting on incineration and plastic pollution. The aim is to equip journalists with the needful tools, knowledge, and skills to report on these complex issues in an accurate, comprehensive, and appealing manner.
GAYO, a youth-led environmental conservation and advocacy non-governmental organization, has been committed to creating an environmentally conscious society in Africa. Guided by sustainability principles, the organization focuses on climate change adaptation and mitigation, conservation, sustainable agriculture, and youth advocacy on social and environmental reforms.
With the help of its “Anti-Incineration and Plastic Pollution Campaign,” the group has been working nonstop to lessen the negative effects of incineration-based garbage disposal with the support of partners.
This partnership is made more impactful through the joining of Human Rights Reporters Ghana, a leading network that concentrates on delivering unbiased, comprehensive reports on human rights issues worldwide. Additionally, the Climate Journalism Network Ghana, a renowned platform aiming to promote accurate reporting on climate change, has also joined.
The conference is a part of GAYO’s wider campaign against incineration and plastic pollution, where the organization strives to shed light on the complex climate crisis and explore sustainable solutions to address it.
The first-ever “Anti-Incineration and Plastic Pollution Media Conference” serves as a knowledge and resource center by providing participants and delegates with a wide range of sessions and discussions centered on incineration and plastic pollution.
Human Rights Reporters Ghana, Climate Journalism Network Ghana, GAYO Echo-Club Campus Chapters and the Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives (GAIA) involvement undoubtedly augments the conference’s reach and significance. With their vast, diverse, and engaged audiences, they are primed to maximize attention on these previously overlooked issues.
“Through this event, we hope to promote discourse at a global level. We believe that a full understanding of the grave impacts of plastic pollution and incineration is a much-needed step in seeking sustainable solutions,” says Mabel Naa Amorkor Laryea, Project Lead for the Anti-Incineration and Plastic Pollution Campaign (AIPPC).
Executive Director of Human Rights Reporters Ghana (HRRG), Joseph Kobla Wemakor, who was equally in attendance, used the occasion to encourage media practitioners to use their platforms to editorialize these concerns, making use of their influential power to effect change.
According to him, the media plays a vital role in educating the public and holding power to account; therefore, it can help change attitudes towards waste management by promoting better practices and exposing the environmental and health impacts of current methods.
He equally called on businesses, governments, and individuals to incorporate responsible waste management practices into their operations and lifestyles.
The conference equally provided a platform to discuss policy change, consumer behaviour, and innovative approaches to combat incineration and plastic pollution.
This joint initiative underscores the growing recognition of the need for cohesive action against plastic pollution and incineration. Through collective action and knowledge sharing, it is hoped that a new pathway to environmentally responsible, sustainable practices can be paved.
GAYO’s ‘Anti-Incineration and Plastic Pollution Campaign Media Conference’ media conference is a vivid example of what can be achieved when diverse organizations unite behind a common cause. It represents a significant milestone in the global fight against plastic pollution and incineration, inviting us all to partake in creating a cleaner, healthier, and more sustainable earth.