The British High Commissioner to Nigeria, Catriona Laing, has pledged her support to the HoBeei Free-cycling Initiative, to ensure proper waste management and reduce environmental degradation.
Laing made this known in Abuja during a Free-cycling awareness Initiative, as the British High Commissioner and Staff donated their pre-owned items via the HoBeei platform to the Nigerian public.
According to Laing, the idea of free-cycling is to promote the three Rs (Reduce, Reuse and Recycle), making it easier for people to give away their unwanted but reusable items to people who can use them.
This, she said, had led to many unwanted items being dumped in waterways and other sites, causing environmental degradation, a leading cause of climate change.
According to Laing, Nigeria generates around 32 million tonnes of solid waste per year, and in 2020, Nigeria was estimated to be among the top 20 countries contributing to marine debris.
Laing, however, noted that the HoBeei initiative was a welcome development to tackling these environmental challenges and pledged to raise her voice to support the initiative.
“I am committed to encouraging my colleague Ambassadors, convince the diplomatic community and ensure their voices are heard on this initiative.
“I will use our platforms and social media to ensure our voices are heard so that people can also join the course of donating the pre-owned items to others just like I did today.
“There has not been enough awareness and sensitisation given to free-cycling like other environmental issues.
“Nigeria is in the top 20 contributors to the stuffs that end up in the seas so it is a hugely important areas, it is not something that has enough attention.
“And of course, it impacts on all of our lives because climate change is impacting on all of our lives right now,” Laing said.
Laing also noted that it was good for the government to develop policies, the policy environment, the legal environment and also to provide an enabling environment to promote this great initiative.
Founder of the HoBeei Initiative, Ms Mariam Eluma, said that the initiative is aimed at creating a platform where people could cycle their items to improve savings and preserve the environment.
Eluma said it is also a platform that creates equality among all classes as anyone could bid to own any item that has been uploaded and not necessarily the poor and needy.
“The aim of HoBeei is to help people improve savings while also encouraging useful benefits to the environment.
“People can upload their unwanted items and others who need these items can obtain them using our virtual tokens.
“So the whole point of the virtual token is to reduce the amount of money people use to obtain these items.
“And so far so good, about N4 million worth of items have been obtained for less than N800,000 and that is a lot of money saved and also, over 1,500 items have been free-cycled on the platform.
She said the organisation plans to visit university campuses so that students could free-cycle with each other, especially like outgoing students free-cycle their items to new students to help them save money.
By Lizzy Okoji