Ghanaian climate change activist, Joshua Amponsem has been featured in the first cohort of the Global Plastic Action Partnership (GPAP) as a plastic action champion.

The GPAP, headquartered at the World Economic Forum in Geneva, Switzerland, is a global coalition of public and private actors with the aim of eradicating plastic pollution.

In Africa, Ghana was the first country to join GPAP in 2019 and Nigeria became the second Africa country to join this week.

GPAP has been coordinating with Ghana‘s Ministry of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation (MESTI) to engage with both the public and private sector players as well as civil society organizations to find a roadmap for tackling plastic pollution in Ghana. The goal is to bring sustainability into every stage of the plastic value chain while harnessing the economic opportunities that may be presented as well.

Joshua Amponsem, Executive Director of the Green Africa Youth Organization (GAYO), a nonprofit organization who is noted for engaging in environmental sustainability initiatives and community development, was honored alongside seven other young changemakers from all over the world for their contribution towards the eradication of plastic pollution.

According to GAYO, Joshua is expected to leverage on his appointment as a Plastic Action Champion to design youth-focused programmes to deliver community-based solutions to tackle the plastic waste challenge in Ghana.

Through his Organization, he pioneered a zero-waste community model in Ghana in 2018. The model is currently set to be replicated in three other communities in partnership with MMDAs across Ghana alongside other organizations to implement the model across the West Africa Region.

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.

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 youth worldwide.

The menace of plastic pollution

At the present rate of pollution, it is feared that the oceans will be engulfed with more plastics than fish by the year 2050. It is also feared that response to the plastic pollution menace has been too sluggish. This is why young people, knowing very well that their future is at risk, are beginning to take bold action against plastic pollution. As Taylor Clayton, the Program and Governance Specialist of the Global Plastic Action Partnership, said, “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.

Other Plastic Action Champions

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.

Other Plastic Action Champions

In the coming months, these changemakers will be engaging with one another through the Plastic Action Partnership and the World Economic Forum to identify areas for collaboration in the quest to reduce the ballooning plastic pollution problem that confronts the world today.

By: Kirk Bright Enu