At such a young tender age, 16-year-old Princess Johnson, a six-grade student at Ashaiman 4&3 Basic School has seen first-hand what indiscriminate disposal of plastic waste could do to the environment. But unlike others, she decided to act and be a champion of proper plastic waste disposal.
The plastic mess created in this country is enormous and Princess recognizes that her task will not be a casual stroll in the park, but rather one that will require her to exert all her energies in making the environment safe for her and the generations to come after her.
This year’s edition of the FanChoco School Caravan gave students the opportunity to collect wrappers and be rewarded for their efforts. Princess saw the opportunity to pursue her passion as well as get rewarded as a result.
Launched in partnership with the Ghana Education Service, the FanChoco School Caravan sensitizes school children on healthy snacking, proper waste management and adherence to COVID-19 protocols.
She was not perturbed that nearly 100,000 pupils would be taking part in the wrapper collection promo and compete with her to be the winner. Rather, her immediate focus was to gather as many wrappers as possible to keep them out of waterways and drainage systems etc – winning would be a bonus.
Little by little, she collected them. A wrapper at a time. Before she knew it, she had collected 10,000 wrappers of Fan Milk products. This was no mean feat. She knew that the more she collected, the bigger the responsibility.
Of course, there were times that she got weary – the task was enormous, but her passion and determination spurred her. In the end, she came up as the pupil who collected the most wrappers during the promo. She collected nearly 18,000 wrappers.
When she was announced as the overall winner, her joy was boundless. Her immediate excitement stemmed from the fact she was able to collect such a large number of wrappers that could have ended anywhere.
“I am very happy to be the overall winner in this year’s promo. I would like to advise my peers, family and community to keep their environment clean,” said Princess.
Princess’ closest competitor, Joseph Enchi of Manhean TMA, collected 575 wrappers fewer to finish second. Like Princess, the chance to be the overall winner was a motivating factor but what kept him going was his love for the environment.
Finishing at the second position, he felt more than fulfilled at his achievement which did not come easy.
Commenting on how his school approached the competition, the Head Teacher of Manhean TMA, Frances Aboagye, explained that the school typically has its fruit days on Tuesdays.
“But when the programme came in, we decided to change it to FanMilk Day, which allows every child or student to bring a product from the FanMilk family to school. This enabled us to collect more wrappers to win a cash prize of GH¢5,000. We are very grateful to FanMilk,” she said.
St Paul’s Methodist School emerged the third winner. In order to achieve this, Nana Kofi Baidoo, the Head Teacher, said the school had to motivate its pupils to participate fully in the competition.
“We saw this programme as an opportunity that would conscientize children on how to keep their environment clean as far as sanitation is concerned. We are grateful to have participated in the FanChoco School Caravan project and for the school to win GH¢3,000,” he said.
The wrapper collection promo created more than 100,000 plastic waste ambassadors in the pupils who took part in the competition.
However, to rid our environment of plastic waste, it is imperative that each and everyone becomes an ambassador – it is a collective responsibility that has to be performed with all the diligence that it deserves.
One wrapper at a time, we will be on our way to keeping the environment safe for us all.