“… somewhere along the way we have become separated from nature. This can be seen by the way we pollute one of our most precious, yet often overlooked resources; our rivers and streams.”
Timothy Kamuzu Phiri, Mizu Eco-Care
Timothy Phiri is the director of Mizu Eco-care and serves on GMFER’s board. Timothy is known affectionately as “TK” to his friends. In the spring of 2023, with GMFER’s help, TK and his team documented the plastic pollution along the Ngwerere stream in Zambia.
Originating in the capital city of Lusaka, the Ngwerere is one of two tributaries of the Chongwe River. Water from the Ngwerere underpins local economies and ecologies, making the stream socially and environmentally significant. The Ngwerere feeds the Chongwe, the Chongwe river drains into the mighty Zambezi which meets the vast slate of the Indian Ocean in Mozambique.
The Ngwerere has experienced plastic pollution for over a decade. Mounds of garbage inhibit the tributary’s waters from reaching the Chongwe dam; the water itself is undrinkable. In response to the extent of contamination, GMFER and Mizu Eco-care envisioned and organized a collaborative project to clean-up the Ngwerere. The pilot event for the project took place on World Environment Day, June 5, 2023.
The pilot was a joint effort engaging many enthusiastic volunteers, college students, the Chongwe Municipal Council, the Lusaka City Council, and the Honorable Collins Nzovu, Zambian Minister for Green Economy and the Environment. The clean-up effort on World Environment Day was an enormous success.
Mizu Eco-Care and GMFER will strategize, organize and install successive clean-ups of the Ngwerere as funds become available. Our hope is to maintain the Ngwerere in as debris-free a state as possible, and, to eradicate plastic pollution along the tributary’s path as it meanders to meet the Chongwe river.
Plans are in progress to broaden the scope of the project, extending the initiative to Beat Plastic Pollution in other tributaries and rivers of Zambia. The effort will demand substantial funding; grant proposals are currently being developed.
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The problems we face are urgent, complicated, and resistant to change. Real solutions demand creativity, hard work, and involvement from people like you.
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