Likoma Island youths declare war on thin plastics

By Leonard Masauli, MANA

Youths on Likoma Island have declared war against thin plastics on the tourism-island saying they pollute the environment and endanger aquatic life in Lake Malawi. 

The youth have engaged in handpicking of plastics surrounding markets and lakeshore premises to ensure tourism hotspot areas remain clean.

Likoma Island, paradise for tourists

Programmes manager for Nkhwazi Youth Club, Emmanuel Kapekenya said in an interview that Likoma communities rely on the water from the lake for drinking, fishing and day-to-day life and that if unchecked, plastics can damage the environment and pose danger to some aquatic life. 

“In Likoma we rely on the lake for our survival and plastics take time to decompose once littered anyhow and hence they pose danger to aquatic life,” he said.

St. Peter’s Cathedral on Likoma Island

“With time, the plastics can contribute to extinction of some fish in the lake, thereby impacting negatively on people’s economy.

“This is why we thought to start now, to engage the youths in the exercise to pick all plastics in the market and the lakeshore on monthly basis, to lessen the impact that is to come in the future and ensure the island is clean.”

Kaya Mawa tourist resort on Likoma Island

Kapekenya further called on the Council and other organizations to help the youth advance their core agenda in as far as cleaning the environment among other humanitarian activities are concerned.

Project Coordinator for Likoma Conservation Foundation, Davie Kacholola said much as the district has challenges on waste management, his organization is doing all it can to discuss with the council to find long lasting solutions to the problem.

Chairperson for by-laws committee on the island, Laurent Gondwe said the Council understands the challenges at hand as regards to waste management and they are working tirelessly to ensure they operationalize the main dumping site and ensure people are not littering anyhow in the district.

Kacholola (right) presents the donation

On Friday, Likoma Conservation Foundation donated MK1.9million construction, teaching and learning materials to Yofu Primary School and Wisdom Private Secondary school to help curb some of the challenges faced by the two schools.

Making the donation at the District Education Manager’s Offices, Kacholola said they felt duty-bound to assist the two schools after they requested for help.

“We decided to assist the two schools after they presented their challenges of toilets as well as teaching and learning materials. 

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“We have so far donated K350,000 construction materials in form of iron sheets and cement to the two schools, as well as MK600,000 teaching and learning materials respectively,” he said.

Likoma’s District Education Manager, Benford Mwakayuni thanked the foundation for the initiative, saying teaching and learning materials are a great challenge to most schools on the island.

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“This is very commendable. We have plans to uplift education sector in Likoma but we do not have enough materials and we thank Likoma conservation Foundation for such a donation because it will make a difference.

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“The donation is in line with the national educational goals which focus on quality and relevance which ensures that whatever we are teaching should be of good quality and relevant to the lives of our learners here in Malawi,” Mwakayuni said.

Mwakayuni said the District Education Office has unveiled a five-year strategic plan to address low academic performance challenge in the district.