Clean Cites Project holds ‘Waste to Art’ workshop at Nambuma CDSS

By Chisomo Phiri

In an effort to conserve the environment in the country, Clean Cites Project, a youth-led social enterprise focusing on climate change management, waste management and environmental justice on Saturday March 23, 2024 through its Waste to Art Initiative held a workshop called ‘Waste to Art workshop’ at Nambuma Community Day Secondary in Lilongwe

Speaking after the workshop, the Waste to Art Initiative project manager Amos Benjamin said the inspiration behind organizing the waste to art workshop stemmed from witnessing the staggering amount of plastic waste harming Malawi’s environment.

He said in Malawi alone, urban areas accumulate approximately 280,000 tons of uncollected solid waste annually and that this alarming statistic, coupled with the fact that plastic waste takes up to 1000 years to decompose, highlights the urgent need for innovative solutions to address this pressing environmental issue.

Said Benjamin:”We believe in empowering youth to become agents of change through creative solutions like upcycling, not only to tackle the immediate problem of waste accumulation but also to instill a culture of environmental responsibility and sustainability for future generations.”

According to Benjamin,the workshop served as a platform to educate participants about waste management and recycling by showcasing practical ways to repurpose plastic waste into art.

“Through hands-on experience, we wanted to instill a sense of responsibility and stewardship towards our environment.

“Participants primarily used discarded plastic waste, such as plastic bottles, waste papers as the primary materials for creating their artwork. By utilizing these materials, we emphasized the transformative potential of waste while promoting sustainable practices,” Benjamin said.

He explained that the participants benefited a lot from the workshop in such that they were taught to develop practical skills in upcycling and artistry.

“They  gained a deeper understanding of environmental issues and the importance of waste reduction.

“Lastly, the participants have now become ambassadors for change within their communities, inspiring others to adopt eco-friendly practices,” explained Benjamin.

He indicated that each artwork created during the workshop carries a unique environmental and social message.

He said:” Through their creations, participants had the opportunity to highlight themes such as the importance of waste reduction, the beauty of repurposing materials, and the urgency of addressing climate change.

“Absolutely, our initiative doesn’t end with this workshop. We envision a multifaceted approach to sustainability that extends beyond the classroom. first  of all, we are forging sustainable partnerships with schools, communities, and local organizations.”

Benjamin disclosed that they will soon hold a ‘Waste to Art Gallery’ which serves as a platform to showcase the creative and impactful artwork produced by students, highlighting the transformative power of upcycling and promoting environmental stewardship to a wider audience.

“We are also hoping to integrate waste to art programs into the regular curriculum and providing a space for ongoing exhibition and engagement, we aim to create a lasting impact on our community and inspire others to join us in the journey towards a greener, more sustainable future,” he disclosed.

One of the participants during the workshop Watson Ngosi described the workshop as important.

Said Ngosi:” I was inspired to participate in this waste to Art Workshop because of large amounts of waste in our cities and communities.

“I really wanted to gain practical skills on recycling our plastic and other waste into valuable products in order to conserve the environment and achieve sustainability.”

Another participant, Mercy Moyo a form 2 student at Nambuma CDSS also hailed Clean Cites Project for conducting the workshop at their school.

“This has changed my perception towards waste and plastics. I will no longer see waste as waste rather see waste as treasure. For example I have been trained that I can recycle plastic waste into flower vans and jewellers. I will forever be a change agent by advocating for proper waste management and recycling of plastic waste into art which I believe I can sell, get income and sustain my wellbeing,” she said.

After the workshop, the organization also donated assorted items to the students at the such as bins, brushes and moopers so as to boost sanitation and waste management practices at the school.