Great Global Cleanup highlight: Community group organizes beach cleanup in West Africa | Earth Day Network

By Rachel Weisbrot

“Je fais ma part pour la plage de Lomé.” In French, this means, “I do my part for the Lomé beach.”

On July 27, citizens of Lomé, Togo, did exactly this at a beach cleanup event organized by Le Club des Amis des Plages et des Océans (Friends of Beaches and Oceans). Many people, including members of civil society and government, worked together to make Lomé Beach, located on the southern coast of West Africa, a clean one for all to enjoy. This event was part of Togo’s African Day of Seas and Oceans, which celebrates civic engagement to protect and preserve marine and coastal biodiversity.

Gado Bemah, executive director of African Science and Technology for a Durable Development (STADD), hopes Lomé will be a model for other cities wanting to do the same. To him, maintaining a clean environment creates sustainable economic opportunities.

As part of this year’s African Day of Seas and Oceans, community members also installed 70 trash bins on the beach and in the city of Lomé. More available trash collection areas encourage people to take greater personal responsibility for their trash.

After people collected trash, they sent much of it to recycling centers. These centers, which are managed by STADD, receive 15–20 tons of plastic waste per month. They not only oversee waste disposal but also provide jobs in Togo.

This year’s cleanup event is not unique for Lomé. During another Lomé beach cleanup in September 2018, more than 500 people collected 350 kilograms of waste. The initiative was part of “Clean Beach 2018,” a global campaign by the EU that aims to protect the environment while raising awareness of the harmful effects of pollution.

The people of Lomé are doing their part to protect their beaches every day, not just for a one-time event.

As we draw closer to World Cleanup Day on September 1 and the 50th anniversary of Earth Day in April 2020, Earth Day Network shines a spotlight on those who reduce and control plastic pollution in the environment. Beach cleanups are just one way to make positive changes across the globe. See all the ways you can reduce your amount of plastic waste, and learn more about how you can do your part for the environment by joining Earth Day Network’s End Plastic Pollution campaign!

Rachel Weisbrot is an intern with Earth Day Network and a recent graduate of Binghamton University, where she studied Environmental Studies.