G Y E M G h .


Be The Change You Seek

Be The Change You Seek

Be The Change You Seek

The Interview

In the fight against plastic pollution, a teenager decides to walk the talk by starting a plastic collection project in her school. In today's conversation, we'll learn about Anokyewaa's project story and be inspired as young people to take local actions to inspire change in our communities.  Let's jump into it.

Ohemaa:  What inspired you to start a project on plastics?

Anokyewaa: I decided to embark on a project to contribute my quota in managing plastic waste for a healthier environment. I cannot want change without doing something to create it. In light of this, I started this plastic project in my school - Wesley Girls High School, Cape Coast. I had this idea after a clarity coaching session with Miss Elinam Ablah who is the deputy managing director at Eblah Trading and Advisory limited. As a result of her interest in environmental protection, she founded Eblah Foundation - a nonprofit working in the area of environmental protection. I was also inspired by my Harvard University dream. All Harvard applicants and alumni are community change leaders and learning about this made me consider leading change. This motivated me to begin research into plastic management.
Plastics form a larger part of today's environmental problems and since they take a long time to degrade, why don't we recycle them into other useful products and minimize the harmful consequences they have on our environment and our health?

Ohemaa: Tell us about your project. How is the collection done? How and where is it transported? Do you have a partnership with any recycling company and what products are they recycled into? 

Anokyewaa: I started by placing trash cans in my classroom and dormitory and also collected some from my school's dumpsite. I plan on starting it in my community by placing bins at vantage points. After collection, the plastics are loaded into jute bags, transported to Accra, and sold to a recycling company. The project is mainly on plastic collection. The recycling company decides the end products. Currently, I don't have a partnership with any recycling company. 

Ohemaa: How was it like at the beginning of your project?

Anokyewaa: In the beginning, I didn't see myself making it at all. After the clarity session, the whole idea was to start a clean-up club in the school. Deep down I kept questioning whether I was capable of it. I think self-doubt took its turn on me. I didn't know how I was going to go about it.

Ohemaa: Wow, yet that self-doubt didn't stop you from starting. What motivated you to keep moving?

Anokyewaa: I really cannot thank everyone that came on board to do this with me enough. Elinam, my french tutor, Mrs. Arthur, family, and friends were there anytime to support and encourage me to keep on with the good work. Also, I need to give credit to myself here just for once. I worked my heart out and I will still work it out to see a clean environment.

Ohemaa: What were the challenges you faced and how did you overcome them?

Anokyewaa: Challenges certainly came but the Most High God saw me through it all. Where to keep the plastics was a problem since the school had not yet given me feedback after my numerous letters to them. Due to this, I couldn't make it a formal project. Only close friends knew about my plastic collection.
Ohemaa:  What do you wish you knew or had at the beginning that could have made the project better?

Anokyewaa: One thing I sometimes regret is not approaching the headmistress myself. By now we would have collected thousands of plastics for recycling. I learnt it used to be an initiative in the school but due to certain reasons (which I don't know), I didn't see it running during my time in school so maybe my visit to the authorities could have revived this beautiful initiative.

Ohemaa: I think I'm going to call you the Plastic girl. So Plastic girl, what are your next steps? What are your plans for the future with this project?

Anokyewaa: One of my ambitions is to own a plastic company that produces biodegradable plastics. I certainly have plans for my project, both short-term and long-term. One is to start educating the younger generation about the environment so that they can grow to love and care for it.
Also, I want to work with my Member of Parliament to explore ways to improve plastic waste management in our constituency. I simply want my project to be the most talked about teenage project to have ever happened which will continue to live for a long time and bring sustainable change to Ghana.

Ohemaa: What is your final message to young people like you out there?

Anokyewaa: I see a clean Ghana in the next 10 years. I believe there's a lot of work to be done but it starts with you and I.

All I will say is that, let's help to make the world a better place by taking action, no matter how small, to protect our environment because it's the only home we have.
Thank you!!


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