World Environment Day 2022 - "PickThatTrash"

Considering that World Health Organization (WHO) “calls climate change the greatest threat to global health in the 21st century, cleaning the environment is essential for a healthy planet and people.  Research shows that maintaining a clean environment reduces pollution, preserves our biosphere, protects endangered species, and also helps preserve the earth’s natural resources.

Hence, as a simulating body of the United Nations, Coaches United Nations (CUNS), a program under the Coaches of Influence Foundation (COIF), in partnership with the Brikama Area Council joined the world in commemorating the World Environment Day 2022.  The event was celebrated with a cleaning exercise at the Brusubi Turntable in West Coast Region of The Gambia Themed #OnlyOneEarth.  The campaign called for collective, transformative action on a global scale to celebrate, protect and restore our planet.

The activity kicked off with a brief opening remark from the Vice President of COIF – Mr. George Marah, who buttressed the importance of youth participation and collective responsibility to keep our environment and earth clean, healthy, and safe for all.  The representative for Brikama Area Council commended CUNS and its mentees for embarking on such a laudable and timely initiative. Hon. Caroline Goddard – Deputy Secretary-General for CUNS, expressed gratitude to the participants for showing up in their large numbers and the Brikama Area Council for being responsive at very short notice.

In addition to the cleansing exercise, the COIF members under the leadership of the Senior Youth leaders launched a “PickThatTrash” Initiative which is aligned with Sustainable Development Goal 6 (Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all).  Hon. Samuel Mendy Secretary-General of CUNS, emphasized that the initiative was launched to inculcate a sense of responsibility and leadership, and encourage the active and continuous participation of youths and community members in the achievement of a clean environment. “PickThatTrash” initiative’s main goal is to ensure betterment of the environment, and improvement of the climate for a healthy planet.

Hon. Samuel Mendy is calling on all to take responsibility to avert the catastrophe being brought by the triple crises of climate change, pollution, and biodiversity loss for a clean environment to help:

  • Prevent the spread of infections.
  • Automatically boosts our self-confidence.
  • Allow a fresh and good look at our surroundings.
  • Prevents dangerous infectious diseases by keeping away microbes, germs, mosquitoes, and other pathogens.
  • Grow clean fruits and vegetables that protect us from germs, pesticides, dust, and unwanted residues on their surfaces.

Among the residents and community members that applauded our efforts, Abdou Manneh, a staff at Ghanem Trading who joined the team of cleaners said, “We have been wanting to remove this garbage for a long time but could not.  Seeing the CUNS team perform this exercise motivated me to take part and help provide a healthy environment as the stagnant water with lots of garbage in it is not healthy.”

Wanda Barrow, a former employee of Afric Med and now a Taxi driver went on to add that the group’s work and the passion displayed by the youths were impressive and exceptional. He alluded that the message sent through their actions can be done only where teamwork/togetherness exists and he wished such an exercise is conducted often, as it was done before (the monthly cleansing exercise also known as “Sett Setal”)

Furthermore, Kebba Mbye – a passer-by shared that ” people don’t like to walk through this path of the way because of how unhealthy the environment is”.

After five consecutive hours of hard work, persistence, and dedication, the exercise ended with a closing remark by Hon. Samuel Mendy, expressing and extending appreciation to the COIF Senior Leadership and Board for empowering its youths to lead the change.  He extended special gratitude to Brikama Area Council for their contribution in providing the tools and their commitment to building a climate-friendly environment not forgetting the volunteers for their selfless sacrifice. 


Author:  Isatou Ceesay

Editor:  Dr. Margaret Ellis



Tags:  #Onlyoneearth, #GMBYouth4SDGs, #CUNS, #climatechange, #cleanearth, #COIF

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