What can you do about plastic pollution? Two students have founded a small organisation that is organising clean up campaigns in Windhoek and other towns. Stefanie Urban and Kai Kleingunther gave a talk about their work at NACSO associate member NEWS, the Namibian Environment and Wildlife Society, on 7 November. Removing plastic waste is a small part of a much larger effort that we can all make to learn about pollution and other environment problems found on our Environment Watch page.
Use the page link below to access topics under Climate change, Biodiversity loss, Pollution and Solutions.
Let’s look at solutions: Up until now it has not been possible to sort plastics and produce crystal clear new plastic from recycled waste. But Swedish researchers have found a way to create the gas that is a middle step between drilling for oil or fracking shale, and turning the black carbon-based sludge into clear plastic. Current factories using oil can be retrofitted.
Banning single use plastics, which Canada and other countries are doing is a useful step. But governments tend to act slowly and are more influenced by big companies making and using plastics than by individual voters. But clean-up campaigns and consumer boycotts can influence governments.
Let’s look at climate change. This week Australia is being ravaged by wildfires that are encroaching on its biggest city, Sydney. Wildfires are not caused by climate change, but higher temperatures, extreme winds and lack of rainfall are, and they make fires much worse. Over 11,000 scientists warned this week of ‘untold suffering’ unless drastic action is taken worldwide. Only one Namibian political party is talking about climate change in this election.
Let’s look at loss of biodiversity, with the Amazon rainforest being felled at the rate on one football pitch a minute.
Governments and corporations have a responsibility to act, and scientists have a responsibility to warn, but unless we take action ourselves by reducing our consumption, re-using what we can and recycling the rest, governments will listen to big business first and the people last.
Youth against pollution Namibia is a great idea, because it gets us thinking about pollution, loss of biodiversity and climate change; and because the future that we are destroying is their future. See the Namibia climate change march film.