Joshua Amponsem

 A Webinar, fireside chat spearheaded by Concordia University compost and Green Africa Youth Organization has been held with a call on manufacturers and industries to conduct supply chain analysis into the life span of their products and ensure a transparent supply chain to monitor their products when they reach their end of life.

Participants also stressed the need for industries to demonstrate extended producer responsibility and for manufacturers to make content packaging more environmentally sustainable. The Bring Back Your Own Marshmallow for a fireside chat with four international speakers from Ghana, Nigeria, Canada, and Switzerland deliberated on the theme International perspective on waste reduction, food systems, and sustainable efforts. Sustainable development goal 12 which seeks to ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns, contains a wide range of targets closely related to Think, Eat, and Save. SDG target 12.3.1 seeks to reduce food losses along production and supply chain including post-harvest losses whilst target 12.3.2 seeks to halve per capita, global food waste at retail and consumer level. In his address the leader of Green Africa Youth Organization and World Climate Ambassador Joshua Amponsem observed in secular communities in Africa where about 65 percent of waste are organic, there is no ready infrastructure ready to consolidate, separate waste for onward delivery to recovery sites to convert them to useful products.

He noted that in most African cultures, where food waste is given to domestic animals as feed, there exists a challenge now with the volumes of plastics in the system resulting in the death of some of these animals as they chew on and swallow these plastics. He added that young ones are taught in schools about recycling waste and that impress on them to generate more waste while there are no technologies to recycle the waste. Mr. Amponsem stressed the need to unlearn these habits and foster practices to reduce the volumes of waste.

Touching on lessons drawn from the COVID 19 pandemic, he indicated that many people are planting their food and harvesting them adding the psychological impact of growing food has brought them closer to nature and shifted the narrative from walking to a park to enjoy the beautiful scenery there to been contributors in sustaining the environment. While calling on the government to commit resources to skill development and economic empowerment of those whose livelihoods are dependent on electronic waste, he encouraged radical young environmental activists to get into the decision making power of politics to give more vocal and direct financial flow onto the transformation agenda in environmental sustainability. The issue of global food loss and waste reduction represents a full opportunity to improve food security and enhance environmental sustainability says Betty Osei Bonsu the co-moderator of the event. This has received considerable international attention. Other speakers include a UN Food System Champion and President of SWISS Students Ambassadors for Real food systems, Marie Claire Graff from Switzerland; a Ph.D. Candidate and Public Scholar who leads the Waste Not, Want not initiative at Concordia University in Canada Kerole Riad as well as CEO of Global Youth Climate Action initiative in Nigeria, Abdul Hamid Tahir Hamid.

The chat was moderated by CBC Radio Anchor based in Quebec, Canada, Joanne Bayly with assistance from the Programme Assistant with GAYO Ghana Betty Osei Bonsu. The Concordia University Compost initiative in collaboration with Layola Sustainability Research Centre since its inception in 2016 has doubled its annual composting, halved contamination in the compost bin and each Concordia reduced overall waste by the equivalent of two months. The model is a couple of top-down infrastructure improvements with credible grass-root broad impact education funded by Concordia Council of Student life, CCSL; Sustainability Action Fund, SAF, and Concordia Student Union.

Green Africa Youth Organisation, GAYO is a youth-led, gender-balanced, non-governmental organization that advocates for environmental sustainability and community development. Founded in 2014, GAYO’s interventions intentionally target the vulnerable in society and works with various institutions and multiple levels of governance to implement sustainable agriculture and renewable energy activism interventions that provide green jobs and better environmental conditions for all. Whilst technology is key in solving environmental issues, the problem is more a social problem requiring behavioral change.

The pandemic has taught us a lesson that drastic behavioral change is possible with political commitment and collaborative support from stakeholders including educational institutions that serve as a center of learning and a hub for creating solutions to problems. The general population needs to be sensitized to appreciate that the first step of sorting waste, is a bigger step of reducing their waste on their own.

Apexnewsgh.com/Ghana/ Prosper Adankai
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