Forbi Perise, a 23-year-old from Cameroon, has been dedicating his life to tackling plastic pollution and educating others about the problem.
As a youngster, Forbi taught himself about the environment and ecosystems by watching programs such as National Geographic on television.
Local stream completely covered by thousands of plastic bottles. The ocean is a couple of kilometers away.
#BeatPlasticPollution#5ThingsClear #mothernature #rubbishpic #schools #forest #wildlife #WorldLitterRun #planetearth #recycle #savethefishies #savetheplanet #savetheearth pic.twitter.com/6JIDRqE5xN
— Forbi perise (@FPerise) March 14, 2019
Meanwhile, he witnessed his own small town of Buea, in the southwest region of Cameroon, approximately 25 kilometres from the coast, becoming clogged up with an increasing amount of plastic litter.
The problem was that there were few recycling companies in Cameroon and none at all in his own town. This is why the plastic was piling up – first alongside the roads, and then in the waterways and rivers which led to the ocean.
“In most of the waterways and beaches, you find a lot of plastic pollution,” Perise said.
But that didn’t stop the determined young man. And in 2018 he reached out to one of the few recycling depots in the country.
The agreement was that they would come and make a collection once enough plastic had been accumulated in one spot.
Forbi set to work, visiting up to 200 homes to collect plastic, more than 5000 pieces. Only it took three months for the recycling company to arrive, during which time he had to keep it stored in his parents’ yard.
Education and collaboration key for tackling plastic pollution
Again though the setback did not deter Forbi, who studies environmental science at the University of Buea.
He upped his efforts, engaged local communities and reached out internationally for assistance and exposure. He traveled extensively throughout Cameroon holding lectures, workshops and clean-ups.
Beaches polluted by plastic, and the dangers plastic pollution bring for marine life such as turtles have also been among his focus points.
The California-based Pollination Project are one of the organizations which have got behind the ‘Plastic Man’.
Mainly though he is trying to change things in his own country. To get authorities to take recycling more seriously. To find solutions for the massive amounts of plastic which coll-drink companies make.
And to encourage citizens, especially the youth, to take greater care of the environment.
“If young people get an appropriate education on what it takes to preserve the ocean, air, and land, then we’ll do better,” he said. “Investing in young people is vital for protecting the planet.”
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Image credit: Forbi Perise