We are excited to announce the appointment of our Executive Director, Joshua Amponsem, as a Plastic Action Champion by the Global Plastic Action Partnership (GPAP). GPAP is a global consortium of public and private actors headquartered at the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Geneva, Switzerland, whose aim is to tackle the worldwide plastic pollution crisis. Joshua is expected to leverage on the appointment to develop youth-centred community-level programmes to address the plastic waste menace in Ghana and other parts of Africa.
This inaugural cohort of the Plastic Action Champions by GPAP is an acknowledgement of the growing role young environmental enthusiasts from all over the world are beginning to play in the fight against plastic pollution, especially in a time when there are growing concerns that international and national efforts have been too snail-paced. Joshua has been one of those leading the charge through his activism and his leadership on our flagship Sustainable Community Project.
Presently, 8 million tonnes of plastic wastes leak into the oceans every year and by 2050, there could be more plastics than fish in the oceans. Already, aquatic organisms are threatened as a result of the warming of oceans due to global warming. Young people are demonstrating leadership in finding solutions to protect their future. As Taylor Clayton, the Program and Governance Specialist of the Global Plastic Action Partnership, bemoans, “Frustrated by decades of slow progress on this issue, young people are waging war on plastic pollution in local communities and on the global stage” and Joshua Amponsem has been one of those leading this cause from the frontlines.
He has also been a vibrant advocate for the creation of green jobs for young people and women especially from developing countries who remain the most disadvantaged. As he explains, “In emerging economies, a circular economy for plastics cannot be achieved without empowering and incentivizing consumers and the informal economy”. This is why Joshua continues to make calls for policies that consider and empower those in the informal sector, a call he reiterated recently at the Climate Adaptation Summit 2021 when addressing over 20 Head of States as the representative for youths worldwide.
The other Plastic Action Champions featured alongside Joshua Amponsem were Fionn Ferreira from Ireland; Forbi Perise from Cameroon; Hannah Testa from the United States; Inés Yábar from Peru; and the trio from Indonesia, Andhyta Firselly Utami, Melati Wijsen and Swietenia Puspa Lestari. In the coming months, they will be collaborating through GPAP and the WEF to exchange knowledge and resources to find working solutions for tackling plastic pollution.