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Environmental advocates partner with Norway Embassy to clean Accra Beach

Young Reporters For The Environment (YRE) and Green Africa Youth Organization partnered with the Norwegian embassy over the weekend to embark on a massive clean-up exercise at the Independence Square Beach in Accra. 

YRE is a local environmental NGO which trains young people to report on eco school-related activities and participating in public debate.

It also coordinates workshops at member schools with specific aims of visual communications and writing for publications on social media platforms.

The program, which attracted some foreign staff of selected embassies, targeted to clean beaches and transform plastic and electronic waste into artistic objects that was admired by students and pupils of the participating eco-schools.

Members of the organization visited houses to engage people in the surrounding communities to educate residents on how to maintain a clean environment. They were also invited them to participate in the exercise.

The two-hour exercise, which was dominated by the workers of the Royal Norwegian Embassy in Ghana, saw Norwegian Ambassador to Ghana, Gunnar Holm, actively taking part as he was seen picking refuse from the beach.

Ghanaian international artist, Serge Attukwei Clottey, who has been using his career to create environmental awareness, performed alongside the exercise.

Holm says other countries including his own gave real priority to environmental issues that focus on the whole value chain from production, distribution, waste collection and recycling.

He said dust bins should be provided at various beaches so that people can throw away their garbage, adding that there is the need to have a system for emptying the bins which make it easy for people to pick refuse on the beach.

"It's hard to see the totality in this context. For instance, it took a long time for us in Norway to come to where we are now, but with clear polices and  emphasis on addressing the youth, Ghana will succeed in waste management," Holm said.

With regards to how Norway became one of the world’s cleanest countries, Holm said, “our secret is we started in schools where the future lies so Ghana should try involving the schools, the kids and teachers."

He said though his country adopted effective policies and programs including the introduction of National Beach Cleaning Day to address environmental issues, it took them a long time to be where they are now.

Programs Director of YRE, Hilde Opoku, said Ghanaians need to change their mentality towards the environment especially in a way we manage waste.

He said Ghanaians should have generated money from the plastic waste as it could be recycled to produce energy.

"You know a  recycled plastic bottle can produce energy for four minutes if you use a device and if you look at the beach down here, there are so much energy and resources around," he said. 

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