Akasha Academy activities on World Environment Day
Plastic is one of the greatest environmental challenges of our time: it pollutes nature and oceans, contaminates our drinking water and endangers our health. In the world, one million plastic bottles are sold every MINUTE. Every year we use up to 5 trillion (or 5000 billion) plastic bags. In addition, about 50 percent of the plastic we use is produced for single use only.
The motto of this year’s World Environment Day, organised by the United Nations, was therefore called “Beat Plastic Pollution” for a reason. Actors around the world were supposed to think not only about creative actions to tackle existing pollution, but also about how to raise awareness of avoiding plastic waste altogether in everyday life.
Plastic is also a very pressing problem in Nepal. Plastic bottles, bags and various disposable packaging not only dominate the roadsides of the cities, but are unfortunately also very present in the middle of mountains, rivers and forests. Many country dwellers simply dispose their plastic waste in nature or burn it. A large part of the population lacks knowledge about the effects of plastic on the health of people, animals and the agriculture that is essential for their survival. Sustainable recycling systems do not yet exist and the problem is getting worse every day.
Already in the run-up to World Environment Day, the Akasha Academy NGO in Nepal has therefore decided to expand the annual clean-up campaign of Sri Suntakhan Secondary School and to make it sustainable. This means, among other things, to involve the community and other local actors in order to create a broad awareness of the problem.
The Bagmati River Clean-Up Campaign began on June 2nd. Together with the Human Rights & Peace Forum, the students and a part of the local population, the members of the Akasha Academy NGO organized a clean up campaign of the “holy river”.
On June 3rd, a training on waste management was held to explain how plastic waste can be dealt with at home and in the village and how it can be recycled in the future. One day later, the Human Rights & Peace Forum held training sessions on “Hygiene and Drug Abuse” for the students and other interested parties.
The Environment Day itself was under the motto “Keep Suntakhan Clean”. After a rally with over 200 guests, including representatives of Gorkaneshwor Municipality, Suntakhan Ward, the women’s organization Krishna Mandir Committee and of course the school community, the students started a “Clean-Up Ralley” through the village. In order to keep Suntakhan clean and to create a sustainable awareness for environmental issues, regular clean-up actions and training sessions on various topics are planned from now on.