World Environment Day is celebrated every year on 5 June. It is the United Nation’s most important day for encouraging worldwide awareness and action for the protection of our environment. Above all, World Environment Day is the ‘people’s day’ for doing something to take care of the Earth. That ‘something’ can be focused locally, nationally, or globally; it can be a solo action or involve a crowd. Everyone is free to choose.
Each World Environment Day is organised around a theme that focuses attention on a particularly pressing environmental concern. The theme for 2023 is ‘Beat Plastic Pollution’ and CITW recognises the importance of this environmental issue and the problem that the world faces concerning plastic waste.
This World Environmental Day all of our CITW Zambezi Eco-Clubs will be learning about the negative effects of plastic pollution on our natural environment as well as the importance of worldwide awareness and action. During the lesson, our members are shown many different ways in which they can utilise and upcycle plastic and are challenged to be creative and make items such as bags and jewellery out of plastic waste.
In addition to this lesson, our Eco-Clubs across Zimbabwe and Zambia participated in a national clean-up on Friday 2 June, when they collected an estimated 350 bags of litter. These collections will continue to take place on the first Friday of every month, and our aim is for all of the CITW Zambezi Eco-clubs to be a part of this initiative monthly, in order for them to play their part in creating a plastic-free environment.
Additionally, with the theme of World Environment Day centering around plastic pollution and solutions, we at CITW feel that it is important to shine a spotlight on the incredible work that our basket-weaving ladies’ income-generating group is doing to aid in the fight against plastic. These ladies creatively utilise soft plastics and integrate it into their traditional basket-making techniques: thatch grass is used as the inner layer, and then plastic is stripped and wound around the grass. These are then moulded into the product shape, and sewn together with old rice bags that are unwoven and used as thread. As a result of the utilisation of this plastic for their crafts, the impact on the environment has been hugely positive, as litter around the villages in which they live has drastically decreased, as well as the amount of soft plastic waste that ends up being burned in rubbish pits.