Mary Ekah

In a bid to help deepen environmental sustainability in Nigeria, the leading retail shop giant, Shoprite has thrown its weight behind the Season 3 of the Youths for Green Economy initiative of a Non Governmental Organisation (NGO), Mfon Edet Educational Foundation.

Shoprite through this initiative is striving to develop and promote the culture of environmental conservation by educating the populace on the effects of improper waste management and wealth opportunities in waste. The retail shop also provided shopping vouchers for the students that took part in the essay and art competition to mark the World Environment Day Celebration with the theme, “Go Wild For Life”.

Speaking on the theme for this year’s celebration, Vice President, Mfon Edet Educational Foundation, Mrs. Mfon Edet said though the theme is a worldworld conversation but Nigeria have her our own peculiar problems with environmental issues.

“We also have wild lives that are endangered here in Nigeria but there are other immediate problems that are being faced in Nigeria like flood, deforestation and even the inappropriate way of disposing refuse, which are affecting us and these are things we are trying to tackle with programmes like these”, she noted.

Edet who said the Foundation believes in catching them young, added, “it has been difficult to get the adults to start with, so if we use the children by starting now to educate them, and teach them the importance of the gifts of nature and the act of keeping their environments clean, disposing their wastes properly and other benefits they can derive from nature, as well as the possibility of creating wealth and jobs opportunities from waste management, we can in future be sure that we would have a better place to live – better and safer environment.”

The benefit of recycling waste, she said cannot be overemphasised because there is so much in waste in which people can harness the opportunity and create wealth and these, she stressed are things children must be made to understand.

On how the world theme, “Go Wild for Life”, applies to the Nigeria environment, she said, “Go Wild for Life is about animals that have gone on extinct. So go wild for life is about going all out for wild animals, that are for now are being exported or going on extinction due to illegal trade, so as to preserve them because by the time we allow them to go into extinct further, the benefits we would have derived from these animals would have been lost completely and that will cause an imbalance in the ecosystem.”

Speaking on the competition by the children, Edet said, “The children’s essay competition comprises things they are passing through right now and what they can also benefits from the nature. They wrote on climate change, one of the biggest threats of the 21st century; climate change, pollution and on all the things that are happening around us and that are affecting us and which the children should start to proffer solutions to.

“It has been overwhelming what these children put down in their essay and thanks for our sponsors because these children are going to go back with some gifts to show for their efforts. And it is not just about them writing the essay and winning a prize but it is a win – win venture, because it is going to bring back one very big culture that we have lost due to the effect of technology.

Getting children to sit down and write these things has helped them imbibe that culture of writing and reading, and it is very amazing what they hope for the future through what they wrote and if we do not start an effort right now to achieve their hopes and aspirations, in 10 years from now what they wrote may not be attainable, and that will be very disappointing and discouraging for them. We also have plans to publish their essays for people to read far and wide. This is the children’s dreams and passion. This is the future they have in mind, which they have put in writing and if we don’t start now to take action, this dreams may not be realised.”