European Union External Action

EU Sierra Leone marks climate diplomacy week with Beach Clean Up and a competition to identify best alternatives to single use plastics

15/10/2020 - 18:12
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On Saturday morning 10 October, over 300 participants joined us on the Lumley and Aberdeen beaches of Freetown for our annual #EUBeachCleanup ocean-activism action. Due to COVID restrictions, the event was organised at 5 separate locations.

Our energized EU staff was joined by the diplomatic community, international organisations, volunteers from the Sierra Leone Association of Journalists, students from the Green Schools Clubs, the team from Shout Climate Change Africa and representatives from government, Parliament, Freetown City Council and the National Tourist Board.

EU Ambassador Vens called for more localised, sustained engagement under the theme “The Ocean starts with You”.

“Of course cleaning the beach should not be a one off. We must think long term, put in place a sustainable waste management system. Our project with the Freetown City Council is a contribution to that effort. The target group of the EU “Sustainable Community Waste Management to local micro-enterprise development” project is the youth engaged in waste collection, to whom we provide skills training, waste collection equipment and motorised tricycles. To further help in the sustainability effort, the EU at the end of today’s event will also donate all the beach clean equipment to the National Tourist Board.”

On 14 October and ahead of #EUGreenWeek, the EU in Sierra Leone also dedicated a special day to the theme of tackling single use plastic pollution.

In the past weeks, we asked a number of entrepreneurs and students what would be viable alternatives in Sierra Leone. The 3 best candidates were invited to pitch their project during EU Pitch Night organised in collaboration with Innovation SL.

Seaweed based bottles, water sachets and bottle caps or eco-friendly grocery bags, food packaging, cups, bottles, dishes, … many good ideas  were  presented to the panel of judges, composed of EU Ambassador Tom Vens, Irish Ambassador Lesley Ní Bhriain, Deputy German Ambassador Patrick Dzierzon, the MD of Brussels Airlines in Sierra Leone and Mr Mandewa-Cole from the Department of Science, Technology and Innovation Sierra Leone.

The winner of the Pitch Night event is John Sawo-Koroma, founder of CraftyBee Fashion World, which produces a range of affordable fabric bags including a 100% cotton fabric shopping bag. The bags are durable, reusable and biodegradable and ideal to replace plastic shopping bags.

The winning business idea will be helped to develop their idea with a trip abroad, sponsored by the EU and Brussels Airlines.


#EUBeachCleanUp 2020

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