The Oniru of Iru Land, Oba Omogbolahan Lawal, on Saturday, March 19, 2022, called for individual and collective efforts to ensure a cleaner and safer environment.
Lawal said this during a clean-up project at the Oniru Private Beach in Lagos in commemoration of the 2022 World Recycling Day.
The theme for the 2022 Recycling Day is: “Recycling Fraternity”, and it focuses on those who put themselves on the frontline to collect and recycle waste during multiple COVID-19 lockdowns.
The Beach Clean-up Project was organised by Sterling Bank in Partnership with HRM Abisogun II Foundation (HAIIF).
According to him, this will ensure clear shores and coastal regions by embracing recycling of plastic bottles.
Lawal noted that beach clean-up would not only reduce plastic pollution, protect coasts, but also raise awareness about the larger issues of plastic production and usage.
He urged residents to always ensure that existing plastics were reused or recycled rather than sent to the landfill, or worse, the environment.
Lawal said that he conducted the beach clean-up to uphold it and preserve life under water in alignment with “SDGs 14”.
“This is from an immeasurable sense of well-being, healthy coastal habitats, increased tourism revenue and clean environment,” he said.
Lawal said that beach clean-up, which serves as an eye-opening experience, would help to increase public awareness of plastic and water pollution.
He said that beaches contribute countless positive impacts to nature, while littered beaches have adverse effects on the health of people, economies, wildlife and ocean.
“I was pleased when the Sterling One Foundation reached out to us to partner on this exercise to mark the 5th edition of the World Recycling Day.
“The Global Recycling Day was created in 2018 to help recognise and celebrate the importance recycling plays in preserving our precious primary resources and securing the future of our planet.
“It is a day when the world come together to put the planet first. Today is not different, we are gathered here to raise awareness about the importance of education around pollution issues and recycling through the beach clean- up.
“This Beach clean-up exercise is the 3rd for us at the HAIIF and part of the plans toward achieving environmental sustainability as captured in the LEGIT VISION,” he said.
The traditional ruler said that he had, in February, adopted and initiated pilot projects like greening the Oniru environment by planting trees and installing solar lighting.
“So far, almost 1,000 trees have been planted. The next phase will involve the engagement of community groups in the tree planting drive and the planting of an additional 1,000 trees.
“We have identified locations for several pocket parks and a large community park and have received proposals for the development of these things.
“We have also started the installation of solar streetlights in our communities.
“A group of youths in the area have been raised to partner with the Lagos Waste Management Authority to periodically conduct environmental sanitation and ensure that sanitary practices are upheld in Iruland.
“Through this initiative, we have recovered and recycled over 1,000 used tyres amongst other items. Beach clean-up is the first step in reducing the amount of plastic ending up in our waterways, on our beaches, and ultimately in the ocean.
Mr Taiwo Adewole, Managing Director, Waste Exchange, a recycling company, said that it picked about 750,000 plastic bottles within the Iru community from Feb. 28 to date.
Adewole said that the bottles were picked in less than one month, adding that 40 women and 10 waste pickers were engaged for the project.
He said the initiative was to educate people on how to convert waste to wealth and also preserve the environment.
Adewale said: “We paid N850,000 for the bottles recovered and we are creating wealth. We are creating job opportunity, whereby people go around the community, pick plastic bottles and bring them to our office and get paid for it.
“What we are doing is teaching people to turn waste to cash; you can make money from your plastic waste.
“The raining season is here, and all the drainages will be filled with plastics and these are raw materials for industries.
“Already, we have lot of off-takers that come to take these plastics from us, and use them in making pillows, mattress, clothing materials.
“These are raw materials that we throw away. There’s already a prediction that by 2050, instead of having fishes in the ocean, we will have more plastics. This, we want to avoid.”
According to him, research have shown that there is micro plastic in the waters.
“Even some of the fishes we consume now contain plastics substance. Therefore, we’re doing this awareness on ‘why throwaway your waste when you can actually get money for it’,” he added.
Adewale thanked Oba Lawal for giving his company the opportunity to setup a recycling centre in the community.
By Fabian Ekeruche and Olayinka Olawale