In Bunia, the capital of the Ituri province located in the northeast of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the waste issue was hard to ignore: the city is overflowing with rubbish and locals are always complaining about it. Last year, local authorities issued a plea asking everyone to maintain their living environment. Unfortunately, this plea was not respected by locals. In order to deal with this situation, some of the city’s youth began to mobilise to achieve the goal of a “generation without waste”.
Waste management begins at home. Each person must take responsibility for managing the waste at their level and in their own environment: at home, at work, at church, at school, etc. To get the children involved we had to engage with them in ‘their environment’, in other words at school.
We visited a number of the city’s schools to educate the children about the importance of waste management. It was an ideal time to talk to them about hygiene, maintaining communal spaces, and picking up rubbish and bins to ensure they have a good study environment.
All the students we met were receptive to our message and they all promised to start adopting good habits to keep rubbish out of their school: they will clean communal spaces every day while also clearing weeds and maintaining the school grounds and its surroundings.
Utera, one of the pupils we met during our school initiative, said: “We will no longer start class if there is paper, rubbish or packets lying around. Every morning we will pick up all the paper, rubbish and packets lying around and on the benches,” the young girl explained. “It’s a duty and a new habit we must adopt.”
A healthy environment for a serene development
Every child has the right to live in a healthy environment that is conducive to their development, as stated in article 44 of the Child Protection Law. The presence of waste has a dangerous impact on the homes of many families as it can cause a lot of illnesses that can harm children’s health and development.
The Government must install public bins to continue clearing public spaces of rubbish. Everyone has a role to play in getting rid of waste in a reasonable manner: it shouldn’t just be thrown away anywhere. In order to truly become a generation without waste we must also setup recycling processes.
As defenders of children’s rights, we must mobilise the entire community and lead by example. Right now, we are not a generation without waste but we can become one by getting everyone involved.
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Article written by Bicris and Moïse, Young Reporters of Ituri
Translated from French by Atholl Simpson
Enfants Reporters Ituri
Suite à leur initiation à l'écriture de blogs, les Enfants Reporters de Bunia vous proposent leurs premiers articles.
After a blog writing workshop, the Young Reporters of Bunia are pleased to share their first papers.
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