by Ebube Okechukwu
Hundreds of volunteers and scores of residents came out in Ota, Ibadan and Lagos to clean the environment as part of an effort to drive a cleaner Nigeria and promote recycling. Clean9ja, which is an offshoot of #LetsCleanupLagos which started in 2015, is a response to the growing concerns of increase in waste and a further decrease in awareness creation about the benefits of a clean environment and on recycling. #Clean9ja campaign works to enlighten Nigerians on the importance of a clean environment and the benefits of recycling
The March clean9ja day is the fifth in the series of the campaign for a cleaner environment. The cleanup exercise which debuted in September, 2015 had the full support of global market leader in the logistics industry, DHL and insurance giants, Leadway Assurance. In attendance were several volunteers, community members, representative of organizations including Mrs. Bilikiss Adebiyi-Abiola, Founder, Wecyclers; Boluwaji Oyewumi, Head of Business Development, Wecyclers; Babajide Fadoju, SA to the Governor of Oyo State on New Media; Irebami Taiwo; Gideon Olanrewaju, Executive Director, Areai; Members of the World Economic Forum Global Shapers in Ibadan, LAWMA, Oyo State Ministry of the Environment and the Oyo State Solid Waste Management Agency.
This months’ cleanup exercise which held in Ilashe Beach, Lagos; Akingbola Street, Bodija-Ibadan, Oyo state and Oju-Ore Area, Sango Ota, Ogun State brought together youths and community groups including the Global Shapers Ibadan served as a platform for networking and engagement on the overall benefits and the need to drive awareness on the importance of caring for the environment.
“Waste burden seems like an increasing problem globally, while we can decide to complain about this we felt there is also a part to play by creating awareness and driving the conversation on a clean Nigeria, this month we thought to do it better by taking it to other cities/states and also to a beach; Ilashe in Lagos” Bilikiss Adebiyi-Abiola said.
On Wecyclers role in promoting recycling Mrs Adebiyi-Abiola said; “We face a sobering waste crisis that will only worsen as population continues to soar. The government and its mercenaries have become overburdened and can only collect just a certain percentage of the daily waste produced.
People living in slum conditions without formal waste collection are subject to increased flooding, disease spread, and psychological stress that results from unmanaged trash heaps. Concurrently, recycling firms in Lagos face a supply constraint—they cannot access adequate supply of quality materials required for processing. One of the large recycling firms in the country is operating its factory at 50 to 60% below capacity. We recognized this and introduced our model which to a considerable extent solves the urban waste challenge for households and recyclers.
We motivate families to recycle plastic bottles, plastic sachets, and aluminum cans through our SMS-based incentive program. For every kilogram of material that families recycle with us, they receive redeemable Wecyclers’ points over their cell phones in return. Families can then redeem their points for goods that they value, such as cell phone minutes, basic food items, and household goods. Families receive collection reminders and rewards updates directly on their mobile phones making the benefits of recycling immediate.
The Cleanup day is one of the avenues we have created to promote recycling and as well drive the need to clean up our environment.”
In a recent report by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, the world’s oceans may have more plastic debris than fish by the year 2050. Currently, 8 million tonnes of plastic end up in the ocean each year – the equivalent of a dump truck of plastic rubbish every minute.
At current rates, that will have grown to two trucks a minute by 2030, and four a minute by 2050 – by which time, by weight, there will be as much plastic in the oceans as fish. There remains a huge need to drive awareness on a cleaner society and promote recycling.
Although the cleanup day is targeted at communities, hundreds of volunteers have embraced this initiative as an essential part of enlightening and participation for cleanliness in the society.
Speaking shortly after the exercise, Babajide Fadoju, “This for me and other volunteers is an opportunity to do something for the environment. We can do our part in a bid to help reduce the waste burden in Ibadan”.
For more information about what Wecyclers is doing or to arrange to interview, please email firstname.lastname@example.org