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Cleaner Nile
Published in Al-Ahram Weekly on 21 - 02 - 2019

“Youth for the Nile” is an initiative recently launched to clean up Egypt's lifeline and rid it of plastic waste.
The campaign was initiated by Minister of Environment Yasmine Fouad in collaboration with the Egyptian Sailing and Water Ski Federation, Greenish, a youth institute focused on environmental activities, and the Very Nile campaign, in cooperation with young volunteers.
The ministry has targeted youth and civil society as the main partners in its endeavours in the past few months to protect the country's natural resources, Fouad said. It has been conducting periodical inspection of waste management to take legal action against buildings that violate laws, and is also testing the quality of water. To help companies rectify environmental problems, the ministry has obtained a 25 million euro grant, she added.
Cleaner Nile
The amount of waste removed during the first few hours of the initiative was telling of young people's enthusiasm to clean the Nile and encourages more people to participate in environmental activities, Fouad said. The campaign has a social dimension since it creates more job opportunities for workers in waste recycling and promotes new environmentally-friendly industries such as the production of bio-degradable bags as an alternative to plastic bags that are not degradable and harmful to the environment.
Youth for the Nile will spread from the capital to other governorates, the minister said, including Luxor, Aswan, Assiut and Qena, to rid the Nile of the biggest amount possible of toxic waste and raise awareness among youth of the importance of the cleanliness of the river.
The waste collected from the river will be sorted out to either be recycled or buried in landfill sites, she explained.
The campaign is part of a series of initiatives the Ministry of Environment has been launching — such as the Nile Guards campaign that started four months ago — to engage children and young people in Nile cleaning, to raise a generation that realises the vast importance of the River Nile. Through its local branches, the Egyptian Environmental Affairs Agency has put in motion Nile Guards in a number of governorates, Fouad said.
Cleaner Nile
Head of the Egyptian Sailing and Water Ski Federation Amr Abul-Seoud is hoping Youth for the Nile will help kick off other campaigns to clean beaches across Egypt.
Youth for the Nile started within the framework of the Ministry of Environment's efforts to engage young people and civil society in activities that aim to raise awareness among the public, and children in particular, of the importance of preserving the environment and protecting the Nile from pollution wastes. The project focuses on the harmful effects of plastics on river water and seeks to promote the production and use of alternatives to plastic materials.


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