During my minimising waste new years resolution I have come across many inspiring humans around the world and one of them is 24 year old Antónia Prata, who was in Angola last month spreading the word about zero waste lifestyle.
Originally from Luanda, Angola Antónia moved with her parents and sister to Lisbon when she was six years old, she has a degree in Urban Planning and Land Management and is currently living in Cardiff doing her masters in Project Management at Cardiff University. As well as doing her masters she is currently working for a non-profit organisation with researchers looking at sustainable solutions through procurement, processes and project management for organisations.
She started changing her lifestyle a couple of years back when she discovered the Zero waste movement whilst she was losing weight. “I wanted to make more conscious choices and this naturally led me to a mindfulness, minimalism and zero waste. At the end of the day it’s about being more aware of what we bring to our body, home and the space around us and it’s impact and consequences.”
She had the opportunity to participate in a lecture given by Bea Johnson when she was in Lisbon that was organised by zero waste shop Maria Granel. “I was fascinated how through small changes we can reduce our ecological footprint. The neighbourhood where I grew up has a landfill nearby and the zero waste made me realise that things may not be like this forever.”
(Above: Angola Antónia)
Passionate of the country she was born, she shared the statistics of how basic sanitation has changed since leaving over 15 years ago. Only an estimated of 7% of families had access to the sewerage system, some cities had only open wells and dry latrine that were used as waste disposal systems and an estimate of 3% of urban families used garbage bins to remove their domestic rubbish in the year 2000. Between 2015 and 2016 solid waste accumulated in the streets of Luanda worsened and from that there was a severe mosquito-borne health issues with yellow fever epidemic and arises in malaria.
She wanted to use her knowledge to be apart of the solution and she has done so by being apart of the Lixo Zero Angola project. The Lixo Zero project is an environmental educational program, aimed to raise public awareness of environmental issues by promoting and empowering local sustainability, offering workshops and focus groups to provide access to information, creating at least 10 local groups for continued Zero Waste community support as well as giving out 100 Zero Waste kits. A couple of the items that were in kits weren’t currently available in Angola such as menstrual cups and reusable cloths pads.
With the help of Graciana Bastista, who has a blog about the academic life in Angola and is now one of the ambassadors of the project, she was able to make contact with universities and schools in Angola. A Go Fund Me page was also created and within 10 days the project raised the target amount for the 100 kits. In the end the project received over 70 donations reaching above the target of 1500 pounds.
Now back from Angola Antónia was pleased with how everything went.
“The project was embraced by the community very well. I have received a lot of requests for partnership, as much from the government as from private companies and invitations to future events that the ambassadors of the program will attend. I must point out that fundraising was fundamental to the success of this idea and I will be eternally grateful to the 74 people who donated.”
So what is next for Antónia you may ask? Well she told me for the future “Trash Zero” which is still new, would become a non-profit organisation project in the area of sustainability.
To find out more about Antónia and the Lixo Zero Angola project you can find her on Instagram @she.is.awake and @lixo.zero.angola.