Hamza M.O Egal

Bright Green is offering all the candidates standing to be on the Green Party’s list for the 2024 London Assembly election the opportunity to set out why they are standing and their vision for London. This article is published as part of that series. The full series of articles can be found here.

For me, the current government policies on the climate crisis is on a par with their actions on human rights and refugee rights. Their policy of sending refugees and asylum seekers to Rwanda is akin to them approving the dumping of raw sewage in our waters. The climate crisis is a global crisis that cannot be solved in a vacuum. I stand because London is a global change city that must lead the charge in climate, economic and social change.

London has always been my home and growing up in this city was unique and life changing. Our city is a gateway for millions of cultures and peoples, and a blend of ancient structures jutting from the ground and glass towers kissing the skyline. Beyond the eyes it feels like a sad story set in a Victorian backdrop with rubbish lining the streets, traffic polluting the air and homelessness visible across every borough. In one of the richest cities in the world we have many people unable to turn on the heating because the cost of living and having to choose between eating and staying warm. Public services are being cut or privatised resulting in more people not being able to afford public transport year in year out, with the most affected being frontline workers in vital services. I am a leader in systems thinking and circular economic design and my aim is to develop a city plan built for the future and it starts with taking back power from the businesses that profit from our detriment like the plastic exporters in the UK and around the world. We need to look past the symptoms of climate change and start addressing the root causes.

London on average recycles 34.4% of household waste, overall UK households dump 22 million tonnes of waste annually and that was pre-Covid. Reports indicate waste recycling had stagnated at 44% in 2022, today the global backlog of waste that was generated during Covid is about to start moving around the world. We export plastic waste to places like Turkey where dumpsites are managed by Syrian children. In Ghana, we dump electronic waste together with the EU, where people living informal settlements are inhaling toxic fumes from the illegal extraction of elements. The worst thing about it all is we are sending waste to countries who can’t even manage their own waste and are okay with it. We need to understand that our problems are globally interconnected and in everything there are solutions and partnerships that can shape tomorrow’s future for the better.

Out of the 32 London boroughs, only 18 are segregating food waste. I see this as more than just a problem, I see this as an opportunity for London to make money and turn it greener than it’s ever been. Hear me out, before the city of Milan decided to separate collection of paper, plastic, metal, and glass with the collection of food it was only able to recycle 35% of its waste. Today the city recycles over 56% but still falls short of the targets set by the EU. I see waste as a resource and believe waste management is important. However, what we do with the resource we manage is a question I am willing to try and answer. I want circularity in our city, starting with addressing the two billion pounds worth of food waste that end up in landfills across the United Kingdom each year. Maybe we can export organic fertiliser to farming communities around the world instead and moving them away from conventional farming that is destroying our biodiversity.

I am standing because I believe London has the capacity, resources, and financial capacity to change how we manage the basics of human life and maintain the integrity of our planet. I joined The Green Party because the party’s principles resonate with me, even though my first experience of conference will forever be etched in my memory. I wasn’t expecting to feel alienated in the middle of well-meaning humans. The lack of representation of Black and Brown people crystalised the importance of integrating social identities to bring forth divergent experiences in party politics. There can be no climate justice without social justice needs to mean something more than just a slogan. I want to champion social and climate justice in this city with help of Green Party members. We can challenge the detrimental practices and stand for accountability and justice. We can do this by leveraging social innovation, technology and most importantly our city’s greatest resource, Londoners.

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