Last Updated on: 15th July 2023, 09:32 pm
Gulu, July 10, 2023: Hariss International Limited on Saturday last week launched an environmental campaign dubbed, ‘Riham Green Ambassadors Club in schools within Gulu city.’
The campaign aims at promoting environmental conservation consciousness among young people in Uganda and increasing the national recycling rate.
According to their recent research, only 9% of plastic packaging in Uganda is recycled while 91% ends up burnt, dumped in landfills or the drains; land and water bodies, creating environmental problems.
With their goal to address the biggest hindrance to proper waste management, which is behaviour, Hariss International Limited together with the Green Ambassadors Club are yet to set up schools clubs where members will receive training on proper waste management and recycling and will run in six secondary and four primary schools within Gulu City.
The schools include Layibi High School, Gulu High School, St. Joseph’s College Layibi, St. Paul II College; Ocer Champion Jesuit Secondary School, and Gulu Central High School.
Others are Unifat Primary School, Christ Church Primary School, St. Peter’s Primary School-Laroo and Gulu Public School.
While speaking to the gathering held in Palema Hotel, Gulu City, Ishta Atukunda, the Public Relations Officer of Harris International Limited, said the beverage company will support each of the selected schools with seven recycle bins and mentorship to teach them how to separate waste into different categories of plastic, paper and organic or kitchen waste since all their packaging is 10% recyclable.
“We want to teach the young generation how to recycle, reuse and upcycle packaging waste,” she added.
Up-cycling gives plastic materials a second life and a new function such as turning them into furniture pieces or planters that can be used in urban farms.
On the other hand, recycling helps to stop plastic waste by turning used plastic back into raw materials for making new plastic products.
Ishta also said small actions can act a big impact only if the young generation is inspired to make positive changes in their daily lives, among them is disposing of waste in the right place.
Partners in the environmental conservation initiative mainly youth-led organizations are the Green Ambassadors Club, Yes Global Initiative; Rotaract Club of Nkumba Stewards; Maende Leo, and Gulu City Council.
Yekous Musujja, the vice president of the Green Ambassadors Club said that the project is intended to nurture young people to become environmental stewards.
“This initiative in the long run will enable them to earn money and conserve their environment,” he added.
Gulu City Council speaker, Joyce Alima said the council will support such an initiative, citing that part of the rural population (people) is still redundant due to the effects of war yet they depend on charcoal burning which now is under a ban.
Alima said the initiative will in the long run increase household incomes and conserve the environment.
“Taking mindset change towards the environment, I am glad we are starting with the young ones in primary and secondary and I equally call upon the teachers to give full support,” said Alima.
According to Alima, Gulu City is managing waste through support from the German government, which provided the city with waste management equipment.
Alima also said Gulu City has 50 skips, 28 collection sites at the markets and trading centres, and 4 operational rubbish-collecting trucks while one is down.
However, she also said that the city still encounters challenges including recourse, human resources and financial support.
“The city currently employs 120 street sweepers but the number will be increased to 150 in the next financial year 2023/2024,” the Council speaker noted.
The deputy head teacher of St. Joseph’s Layibi College, Harry Wire Okoda welcomed the initiative. He said it will help in sensitizing the learners on the importance of waste management and training in financial literacy in the same aspect of waste management.
In a school that has an enrollment of 956, Okoba said the biggest challenge in waste management because of inadequate collection bins and a lack of proper dumping sites.
“Even the few ones we have are very small in size; they get filled up in one or two days. Lack of proper dumping sites since some waste is openly disposed off thus causing air pollution,” he added.
Charles Kinyera, a teacher from Unifat primary school said the campaign will enable peer-to-peer learning in schools, especially concerning the environment.
“The seven recycling bins support has come in handy since some schools are still recovering from the effects of the covid-19 pandemic which hindered the financial state of some schools.
“Mentorship accorded to learners will also equip and educate the community people on the importance of waste management since the learners come from the community.
“If we have training in schools, that means that the community will benefit including the parents so, we shall be at the same level,” he added.