The Coca-Cola Foundation and the Foundation for a Better Environment (FABE) on Saturday, September 16, 2023, partnered to curb plastic and environmental pollution.
The groups, in commemoration of the World Cleanup Day (WCD), organised several clean-up exercises and set up recycling hubs across Lagos and its environs.
The areas for the exercises were Eti-Osa East LCDA, Lekki Lagos; Sangotedo Community and Market, Ajah, Lagos; Isheri Oshun Market, Alimosho LCDA; and Abesan Estate, Alimosho Local Government, Lagos.
It also included Ado-Odo, Ota, Ogun State; Federal University of Agriculture, Alabata, Abeokuta, Ogun State; Agbowo River, Agbowo Road, Oyo State; and Aguda Senior Grammar School, Lagos.
World Cleanup Day is an annual global social action programme aimed at combating the global solid waste problem, including the problem of marine debris.
The day is held over the course of a 24-hour period, on the third Saturday of September annually, and it aims at raising awareness of the mismanaged waste crisis by mobilising all spheres of society to participate in cleanup actions.
Individuals, governments, corporations and organisations are all encouraged to take part in cleanups and to find solutions to tackle mismanaged waste.
The Founder, FABE Foundation, Mrs Temitope Okunnu, said Nigerians needed to be environmentally responsible to curb plastic and other waste pollution.
“We are here to commemorate the 2023 World Cleanup Day (WCD). It is a call for global action to combat pollution in all of its ramification, particularly solid waste pollution.
“And we are here at Sangotedo, Eti-Osa Local Government and across various areas in the state and environs because there is a pollution need.
“From Victoria Island or Ajah, you will realise that there are a lot of flood cases and this is just simply because the residents here are not sensitised on the dangers of pollution.
“Lagos residents need to be more sensitised and understand that their actions on the environment is what they are seeing now in terms of flood.
“Nature is not something that you can mess with. When you mess with nature, it messes with you. We do not even have the capacity to appease nature when it fights back,” she said.
Okunnu said: “There are a lot of debris around and from research, we are told that the wastes are not being picked up. And so, they are being thrown either inside the canals nearby, in drainage systems or at the beach.
“So, based on these, we at FABE International in partnership with the Coca Cola Foundation have brought a recycling hub closer to the people of Eti-Osa East LGA, particularly in Sangotedo, so that people can begin to separate their wastes.
“Our message to Lagos residents is that we need to start taking the environment as our responsibility.”
She said that Lagos residents needed to understand that segregation of different kinds of waste and sorting into different bins are necessary.
“When you separate your waste, you can be rewarded for separating it. And that is why the Tidy Nigeria household recycling drive is now at the Sangotedo area.
“This year’s WCD, we are engaging more people and expecting that they make use of the recycling hub that is closer to them, to reduce the impacts of floods in their environment.
“And if, we and the community residents can do our parts, we will have a better environment for the people of Lagos state,” Okunnu said.
Mrs Amaka Onyemelukwe, the Director, Public Affairs, Communications & Sustainability, Coca-Cola Company, emphasised the need for promotion of environmental sustainability to bring an end to plastic pollution.
According to her, the Coca-Cola Foundation supports programmes around the world that are centred on water, waste disposals and community well-being.
“In commemoration of the WCD 2023, we are glad to support FABE Foundation in environmental advocacy and the need to eradicate plastic pollution across Lagos state.
“As an organisation, it is part of our corporate social responsibility efforts in promoting sustainable lifestyles and habit,” Onyemelukwe said.
On her part, Mrs Modupe Afolabi, Head of Department, Environmental Services at Eti-Osa East LGA, represented by Mrs Aishat Adisa, commended FABE foundation in its environmental advocacy efforts.
“We are encouraged by FABE foundation’s initiative in our community because it is a good one.
“We cannot do it alone. We usually go out to mobilise and sensitise residents on the need to keep the environment clean.
“However, it is commendable when we see NGOs and private bodies coming up to do what you have done. It encourages us, it makes us feel proud.
“We are happy that there are people that share the same knowledge and initiative with us. There are people that also clamour for a better environment.
“We want to say a big thank you to everyone in the FABE team. We want to encourage you to keep up the good work. It does not stop here. We have to keep mobilising people, we have to keep sensitising people.
“We have sensitised them at the market and when they keep seeing us or when we keep disturbing them, they will do the right thing. They will have no choice not to key into environmental responsibility.
“We are ready to fully cooperate with you for a safer and cleaner environment for all,” Afolabi said.
By Mercy Omoike and Fabian Ekeruche