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Global Youth Programme tackling Plastic pollution to launch Pacific chapter

A global youth movement, which focuses on emerging waste issues like plastic pollution, will soon reach the Pacific.

The Plastic Tide Turners programme is spearheaded by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) under their Clean Seas platform. The programme is currently being implemented across 32 countries in Africa, Asia and the Caribbean, and it aims to engage youth across the globe to address the issue of plastic pollution that is threatening life in oceans, rivers and on land. 

It will soon be launching its Pacific chapter. 

Introduced at the Third Clean Pacific Roundtable by the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme’s (SPREP) Hazardous Waste Management Adviser, Joshua Sam, the Tide Turners programme aims to educate young people on single use plastics and on actions that will help reduce land and marine plastic pollution. 

It also aims to motivate youth to alter their behaviour and norms around plastic usage both at home and in their communities. 

“The Tide Challenge is looking at partnering with more than 3,500 institutions which includes SPREP. We should be excited and look forward to this as we have many good organisations within the region that can take this partnership to the next level,” said Mr Sam.

The programme was piloted in African and Caribbean countries and has since gained more than 200,000 participants. It is expected that by December 2021, the number will have increased to 250,000 youths. 

The next phase of the programme will include expanding into the Pacific, with recruitment already underway for a team to kickstart the Tide Turners programme in the region. They will be reaching out to all youth organisations in 14 countries across the Pacific once established. 

It was acknowledged during the session by participants that the launching of the Tide Turners programme in the Pacific would greatly benefit the youth organisations that already exist within Pacific Island countries. These organisations are made up of young people who are passionate about keeping their islands plastic free, but are limited in what they can do because of the lack of resources and support.  

Dwain Qalovaki of Fiji, who moderated the session, agreed that the foundation has already been set in the Pacific – the youth have organised themselves and the will to address plastic pollution is there. All they need now is support, which programmes such as the Tide Turners can and will be able to provide. 

“What we can do as a collective and what this programme can provide is a framework and common place for young people to come together to access resources and materials. They will then return to their communities and their islands adequately supported to be able to run their own programmes and figure out solutions that work for them,” he said.

This story was produced by Leanne, published at SPREP on 19 November 2021, reposted via PACNEWS.

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