… Says Newly Crowned Miss Earth Liberia
Salafana Scott, the newly crowned Queen of Miss Earth Liberia has "vowed to bring attention to the growing problem of plastic pollution" which is "devastating" the country.
Scott who beat out several other contestants to win the environmental pageant on June 24, noted that the per capita plastic waste generation in Liberia is among the highest in West Africa and poses a serious environmental problem.
"I am grateful for this opportunity to serve my country, to advocate for our planet, and to bring sustainable solutions to the forefront," Scott said in an interview after her victory.
"I have pledged to focus on plastic pollution in Liberia during my reign, it's time we take action and help save our environment."
Scott's plan for plastic pollution is intended to draw more awareness to the growing problem and put pressure on policymakers to take action towards addressing plastic pollution in Liberia.
Her vision is also in line with the United Nations' sustainable development goals (SDGs), which advocate for sustainable environmental practices to reduce the impact of human activities on the environment.
Under SDG Goal 14, there is a target to reduce marine pollution, including plastic pollution. Globally, the problem of plastic pollution has reached a critical point.
In Liberia alone, nearly all households use plastic bags, with more than half of those bags discarded outside after use. With about 17,000 tons of plastic goods imported every year, Liberia is suffering from a serious environmental catastrophe made worst by poor waste management infrastructure and limited enforcement o environmental regulation.
The 2019 World Cleanup Day saw over 10,000 tonnes of plastic waste – a shocking statistic – which highlights the extent of the problem.
"I have a vision of creating awareness and sustainable measures around the waste management sector," said Scott, "This will include finding innovative ways of recycling plastic to reduce the high waste which means that plastic waste, which if nothing is done, will continue to be a problem. "
Scott's plan campaign, which is expected to be carried out in partnership with the Environmental Protection Agency intends to promote recycling and proper disposal of plastic waste.
This approach, she explained will go a long way in reducing the plastic waste that ends up in our oceans and waterways, "causing damage to the environment and threatening marine life."
She also plans to partner with corporate organizations to launch a series of clean-up campaigns focused on major water bodies in the country, while instituting a reward system to encourage individuals to be more eco-friendly.
Environmental groups and activists have responded positively to Scott's platform, saying that her focus on plastic pollution is indeed what Liberia needs and that more should be done to educate people on the impacts of plastic waste.
They claimed that Miss Earth Liberia is sending the right message with her platform, and "we hope that her call for action will inspire people across the country and the continent."
The negative impacts of plastic pollution include the death of thousands of marine animals due to entanglement and ingestion of plastic, which also affect human health.
Plastic pollution has also been linked to cancer, endocrine disruption, and other health issues in humans.
Scott who is a teenager represents a new generation of Liberians who aim to tackle environmental issues head-on, for the betterment of society and the world at large.
Miss Earth Liberia is a prestigious event that aims to inspire young women to become advocates for environmental causes. This year's event saw a record number of entries from participants across the country. Meanwhile, Cassandra A. Peters and Priscilia Q. Crabbe end up as the 1st and 2nd runner-ups.