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Every Little Bit Helps: South African Activist Promotes Preservation of Oceans

An ocean shore in South Africa littered with garbage, including plastic bottles and cansInternationalIndiaAfricaExclusiveMarch 30 marks the International Day of Zero Waste. As stated by the United Nations General Assembly, this day is designed to draw people’s attention to sustainable consumption and production patterns. The initiative is aimed at moving the world closer to achieving the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals (SDG).People should not think what they are doing does not make a difference, even small gestures could help preserve the planet, South African Zoe Prinsloo, Founder of Save a Fishie, said in an interview with Sputnik.On the occasion of the UN-designated Zero Waste Day, Sputnik interviewed a South African environmental activist, who has been doing beach clean-ups since she was 10 years old in order to save the oceans from pollution.© PhotoZoe Prinsloo, the founder and CEO of Save a FishieZoe Prinsloo, the founder and CEO of Save a FishieThe founder and CEO of Save a Fishie, an environmental organization created five years ago and operating on South African beaches, said it was hard to find a way to make a difference for polluted oceans. This is why she started doing beach clean-ups, she added.

"My vision with Save A Fishie is to help the average person who wants to help the planet but isn't sure how; saving the planet can be quite intimidating to a lot of people so I try to encourage everyone that if we all just picked up a few pieces of litter whether at our local beach, park or road it can make the world of a difference and in-turn save lots of fishies!" the activist said.

Prinsloo, who was nominated as one of the Top 100 Young African Conservationists and won the Youth division for the Business Person of the year 2021, also outlined the obstacles she faces in her work.

"I am self-funded and cleaning the beach is not exactly a paying job. I am so passionate about what I do, so I rely on sponsored clean-ups from companies, donations and people buying my eco-friendly products to keep my dream alive of doing this full-time," she stated.

Answering a question on what could be done by government and communities to assist her, Zoe said sharing the company’s «social media posts and campaigns, liking and following» it on those platforms would help Save a Fishie grow.Another option, she added, is to attend beach clean-ups.

"The more hands we have, the more litter we can remove from the beach before the tide washes it back out to sea," Prinsloo stated.

© PhotoZoe Prinsloo, the founder and CEO of Save a Fishie and other eco-activists cleaning up a beach in South AfricaZoe Prinsloo, the founder and CEO of Save a Fishie and other eco-activists cleaning up a beach in South AfricaSpeaking about the sufficiency of available facilities for combatting waste problems, the activist noted that more recycling depots and drop-off points along with better education around the state of oceans, the effects of certain actions, and what people can do would definitely help.In her opinion, living a waste-free lifestyle nowadays is very important, «considering how fast paced we are moving.» A waste-free lifestyle can be healthier and much more beneficial for people and the planet, she added.

"It may sometimes be a bit harder in the beginning but in the long run will save you lots of time and money. It also helps us appreciate everything we have and everything our planet has given us," Prinsloo stated.

The eco-activist also sent a message to people, particularly young Africans, on Zero Waste Day, saying «never feel like you are not doing enough or that what you are doing is not making a difference. Honestly trust and believe that every little piece is making a difference and Saving A Fishie.»© PhotoZoe Prinsloo, the founder and CEO of Save a Fishie, and other eco-activists behind garbage they collected during a beach clean-up in South AfricaZoe Prinsloo, the founder and CEO of Save a Fishie, and other eco-activists behind garbage they collected during a beach clean-up in South AfricaSputnik talked to Prinsloo on the eve of the International Day of Zero Waste — an initiative designed to promote sustainable consumption and production patterns, society’s move towards circularity and awareness about how zero-waste initiatives help approach to achieving the 2030 Sustanable Development Goals.The SDG set by the United Nations in 2015 imply 17 goals to achieve by 2030, including those aimed at tackling climate change, preserving oceans, forests, and fighting pollution.Promoting zero-waste initiatives through this international day, which was adopted by a UN General Assembly resolution on December 14, 2022 and is to be observed on March 30 annually, can help advance all the SDG.South Africa, as one of the fastest developing African nations, generates a lot of waste, which require an adequate response. According to the UN-Habitat, a UN-controlled program designed to promote sustainable development of localities, South Africa is expected to start producing more than 20 million metric tons per year by 2025.© PhotoAn ocean shore in South Africa littered with garbage, including plastic bottles and cansAn ocean shore in South Africa littered with garbage, including plastic bottles and cans

Trash Free Initiatives Require More Funds and Cooperation

During the annual climate conference held in November 2022 in Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt, the host country’s Foreign Minister and COP27 President Sameh Shoukry said African nations require additional funding to confront the negative effects of climate change.

"Indeed, African countries suffer greatly from the effects of climate change without being major contributors to this problem," Shoukry stated at a press conference.

He added that Africa needs assistance in adapting to climate change, and it is important to provide countries of the continent with necessary state-of-the-art technological solutions.

At the same time, Africans more actively draw attention to use of the continent's own institutions and funds in solving their problems.

For instance, Ghana’s President Nana Akufo-Addo during the US-Africa Leaders’ Summit in Washington in December 2022, urged Africans not to rely on the West financially.»If we stop being beggars and spend African money inside the continent, Africa will not need to ask for respect from anyone, we will get the respect we deserve. If we make it prosperous as it should be, respect will follow,» he noted.Akufo-Addo also called for solidarity between African nations, saying the continent’s skills and manpower are sufficient to make «Africa work.»Along with him, South Africa’s President Cyril Ramaphosa said that African nations could cooperate more to provide more African solutions.

"We can achieve African solutions to African problems where there is political will," Ramaphosa stated.

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