A clean-up aimed at encouraging students’ participation in promoting a sustainable environment has reportedly gone beyond the expectations of its promoters in terms of participation.
The exercise, held within the premises of the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, Enugu State, on Saturday, February 8, 2020, has been tagged the “biggest campus clean-up” by officials of Plogging Nigeria Club, the programme organisers.
“This is because it is the largest gathering of students for a clean-up exercise we have seen since we have actively been in the environment industry – and that’s for about four years now,” the group explained in an email to EnviroNews.
After the exercise that lasted several hours, the roughly 511 volunteers had over 700 bags of wastes collected, which ranged from papers to plastic to metals, and even organics, it was gathered.
“It was the first organised clean-up in the university; it was really a thorough one, thanks to the huge turnout of volunteers. The plans and publicity for the clean-up began since the second quarter of 2019, hence the success in getting the large number of students’ turnout.
“The clean-up also got the support of the school management and was endorsed by the Vice Chancellor – another reason for a massive turnout from students and staff around the university. It was a solid collaboration and synergy of efforts,” the promoters stated.
Principal, Plogging Nigeria, Ayodeji Omilabu, said: “The experience from our Plogging Episodes, which has been focused on solid waste handling and management, drew our attention to the unsatisfactory state of the university environment, particularly the hostels and business areas. This motivated the decision to host a major clean-up exercise where we could get everyone to participate as Plogging Nigeria Club UNN has taken it upon herself to lead environmental sanitation interventions fortnightly on this campus.”
Head Plogga of the club, Chris Ikechi, said: “This clean-up was a forum to strengthen our commitment as university students in furthering the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations, especially in this Decade of Action.”
Expressed happiness about the number of volunteers involved in the clean-up as well as the volume of wastes collected, Mr. Mayokun Iyaomolere, founder of Plogging Nigeria, said: “I knew the UNN Campus Clean-up was going to be massive as the club had put in so much efforts for months now to make it happen. I didn’t anticipate these huge numbers though.
“It’s become a pacesetting exercise for the rest of us in Plogging Nigeria as we hope to do more with all our clubs in the future. Most importantly though, I am glad that large numbers are getting actively involved in the responsible waste handling agenda of Plogging Nigeria and the environment sector in general. We hope to continue to provide more platforms as this to engage more people.”
The clean-up exercise, which lasted for precisely three hours 45 minutes, got hundreds of students appending their signatures to a pledge to keep the campus clean.
Some UNN staffers and top officials were said to have been actively involved in the exercise. They include ICT Director, Mr. Paul Oranu; Youth-friendly Centre Director, Dr. Ifeanyichukwu Abada; Chief Security Officer, Mr. Christian Alumona; SSA to the Vice-Chancellor, Mr. Laz Ekeke; University Public Relations Officer, Dr. Okun Omeaku; members of the Environmental Committee, UNN led by Dr. Chigbo A. Mgbemene, Ayobami Odubiyi and Dr. Neneka Okafor.
A lecturer from the Department of Social Studies Education was said to have attended the clean-up with all her students.