Wanlov the Kubolor – one half of the FOKN BOIS – is making a public service announcement. He’s on an important mission to raise awareness about how human beings can protect the environment by eliminating trash. Even better, he believes we can create amazing, functional art with waste.
It’s no secret that Ghana has been faced with multiple environmental problems like poor sanitation, illegal logging, and destruction of natural habitats, amongst other things. Some of these challenges have been attributed to the attitudes and behaviors of Ghanaians towards the environment as well as lack of access to information about associated hazards. In the area of sanitation, major waste management organizations and the government have responded slowly to implementing critical solutions to deal with the country’s waste.
Wanlov’s environmental campaign began years ago and continued last month with the Eco Rave show at Alliance Française. Wanlov was selected to organize February 26th’s La Paillote Takpekpe event at Alliance and the Eco Rave resulted in a music and recycling competition. Wanlov says young people should complete research and be well informed on social and environmental issues such as improper disposal of waste, smog emissions, and choked drainage systems.
In all, five rappers and four installation artists participated in the show. The hip hop artists wrote their rap bars based on what they’ve seen and researched about the environmental situation in Ghana. The installation artists used domestic waste like water sachets, plastic soft drink bottles and old clothes to create large interactive exhibitions.
Wanlov also suggested that the young competitors can make a difference with vocal action. He shared, “their works were inspired and may be found inspiring by others in their communities and around the world to change their attitudes towards the environment.”
Opportunity was given to Ghanaian NGOs who specialize in recycling and sanitation services to share information with the audience. The participating organizations spoke about how individuals and communities can better manage waste and even remix waste into a renewable energy source. Representatives of Clean Team Toilets (mobile domestic toilets), and Green Ghanaian Initiative (recycling and waste bins) interacted with the audience by exhibiting how their products and services work. As open defecation is one of the major sanitation problems in some parts of Ghana, Clean Team Toilets [based in Kumasi] have come up with an affordable mobile toilet that individuals can comfortably use in their homes.
Phoenix Ghana (fashion items made of recycled materials) and Trashy Bags (plastic recycled into designer bags) demonstrated how domestic waste can be creatively carved into personal items like school bags, purses, hats, shopping and picture frames. “We’ll have at least one person who might become more conscious about the environment,” Wanlov details. “This person, in the future, can find herself in a very important position in the country, and use it to help protect the environment.”
With events like this, perhaps more young people in Ghana will be more mindful of their capacity to tackle and transform the environmental issues facing the country. At least for now, Wanlov the Kubolor has made environmental protection sound provocative, hip and downright exciting.