World Environment Day: Foundation donates recycling bins, NES seeks policies to regulate plastic usage

The founder of FABE, Mrs Temitope Okunnu, said in Lagos that the donation was to promote environmental sustainability and commemorate the World Environment Day (WED).

The World Environment Day is the United Nations day for encouraging worldwide awareness and action to protect the environment, held annually on June 5.

The theme for the World Environment Day 2023, which is under the campaign #BeatPlasticPollution, is “Ecosystem Restoration”.

“We are doing this because we understand the role that environmental education plays in shaping the future of our next generation,” she said.

Okunnu said that the bins were donated to Akande Dahunsi Senior Secondary School, Ikoyi; Olomu Junior Secondary School, Ajah, among others in Lagos State.

“In Ogun State, the foundation donated some of the bins to Baptist Boys High School, Abeokuta; Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta (FUNAAB), where it is also going to set up a recycling hub,” she said.

According to the FABE founder, funding for the donation is in line with the group’s aim to promote circular economy, waste management, recycling activities and to commemorate the World Environment Day.

Okunnu stressed that recycling was one of the solutions to beat plastic pollution in the country, adding that the Foundation wanted the next generation to have a responsibility to the environment, hence its donation to the schools.

“We want to create more awareness about sustainable waste management, segregation, sorting and recycling at an early age.

“We are also targeting the higher institutions this time and not only the secondary and primary schools.

“We also want to encourage both the students and teachers to adopt sustainable practices by planning and sorting their waste, recycling and to reduce the amount of waste in our dumpsites.

“Through this, we can promote our circular economy approach; we also want our students, teachers and even the parents to work towards the achievement of environmental Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

“We are not just donating bins, we are also teaching students and changing the narrative to waste management and sustainable solutions,” Okunnu said.

She reiterated that the donation was beyond giving out bins, but to change the narrative to waste management, recycling activities and sustainable lifestyles.

“We are also going to be empowering the students to make income by the side when they drop their plastic waste at recycling bins in exchange for cash.

“The donation is to demonstrate our commitment to supporting efforts in creating an environmentally sustainable learning environment,” she added.

In a related development, Paul Akporowho, former National Secretary, Nigerian Environmental Society (NES), has called on the Federal Government to formulate policies that will regulate the usage of plastic in the country.

Akporowho made the call on Monday, shortly after members of the NES, Delta chapter, had observed a sensitisation and sanitation exercise at Ugbuwangue Market, Warri South Local Government Area of the state.

Addressing newsmen, Akporowho, who is also the Chairman and Coordinator of the 2023 World Environment Day, Delta Chapter, said that many countries in Africa had prohibited the use of plastic for packaging materials.

He added that some countries were phasing out the usage of plastics and replacing them with “paper bags” in view of hazardous effect of plastic on the environment and health.

The former NES secretary also called for an action plan by the Delta State Government to manage plastic wastes, saying that it was not the responsibility of the Federal Government to manage waste in the state.

According to him, by the Constitution, waste management is residual to the state and local governments.

“State governments should focus on drawing an action plan to manage plastic waste along with other waste,” Akporowho said.

He said that plastic waste should be segregated and given special attention, while taking care of other waste like refuse.

Speaking on the programme, Akporowho said that the theme of the “2023 World Environment Day” was “Local Solution to Plastic pollution”.

He added that the NES had successfully enlightened traders and stakeholders in Ugbuwangue Market on the hazards of plastic waste pollution.

“Whatever plastic we disposed off on the earth surface, in most cases find their ways into the natural drains and canals, go down the stream until they get into the ocean.

“Along the line, they constitute hazards to marine and aquatic life, block drainages and cause flooding in urban areas.

“When fish in the canals and ocean eat the plastic waste, it becomes hazardous to them and when we eat the fish it constitutes health problems to us,” Akporowho said.

Dr Lauretta Aherobo, National Financial Secretary of NES, handled the sensitisation session, while other members of the society engaged in picking plastic waste within the market square.

Aherobo urged the traders to ensure proper disposal of their plastic waste, saying that it had a lot of environmental and health implications.

Some of the traders, who were elated by the exercise, thanked the NES for the awareness.

(By Mercy Omoike and Edeki Igafe)

Naija Environment News

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