Malawi’s landscape is clogged with plastic waste that could linger for 100 years. One woman has taken on plastic companies and won

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The 2021 Goldman Environmental Prize winner Gloria Majiga Kamoto stands speaking infront of the Mudi River bridge where lots of banned thin plastic bags and other waste are trapped in Malawi???s Commercial City of Blantyre, February 21, 2021. GOLDMAN/2021/AMOS GUMULIRA

For more than five years, Gloria Majiga-Kamoto, a 30-year-old Malawian environmental activist, has waged a David v Goliath battle against some of the country’s largest plastic manufacturers to bring an end to single-use plastics.

Together with other activists and civil society groups, Majiga-Kamoto spearheaded a grassroots campaign that fought to pressure authorities into instituting a plastic ban in Malawi.

“We organized several marches — marched to the court and in communities to document their experiences and the challenges they encountered because of the plastic problem we have in the country,” Majiga-Kamoto told CNN.

After a protracted legal battle with plastic manufacturers, the Malawi Supreme Court upheld a national ban on the production, importation, distribution, and use of thin plastics in July 2019.

Majiga-Kamoto’s fierce advocacy led to the shutting down of three plastic firms in 2020 by the Malawian government and as a result of her grassroots campaign, she has been awarded the prestigious Goldman Environmental Prize for Africa.

She is one of six global winners of the prestigious award, announced Tuesday morning, which honors grassroots environmental activists.

But the mother-of-one says her advocacy journey has sometimes taken a toll.

“You sometimes put your family at risk coming up against huge companies and people that are well connected politically. You always find there’s a conflict of interest and you’re stuck in the middle. It does feel a bit threatening and can also feel a bit scary,” she told CNN.

Source: CNN NEWS

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