Earth Day: LUFASI, British High Commission Charge Nigerians on Waste Recycling

  • Obaseki harps on biodiversity sustenance

Abimbola Akosile

Nigerians have been reminded that proper disposal of recyclable waste such as plastics, glass, cans will not only protect the future of their children but can also give them additional immediate income.

This reminder was highlighted during events to commemorate Earth Day 2018 at the Lekki Urban Forest and Animal Sanctuary Initiative (LUFASI) recently.

British Deputy High Commissioner to Nigeria, Laure Beaufils, said like her native United Kingdom, Nigeria also has and celebrates wonderful coastlines but unfortunately, humans are now clogging the ocean with plastics which can take hundreds of years to dissolve.
“Our environment, our health and ability to earn a living are affected by this practice. We can actually recycle to make some financial gains. It is now a win-win situation,” said Beaufils.

She said her office in Nigeria is actively involved in recycling. She also said the British government just announced a sum of £62 million to work with her Commonwealth partners on the issue of environment, and urged Nigerians to also task governments on commitment to the environment.

LUFASI Chairman, Desmond Majekodunmi, said Nigerians use too much plastic products. Plastic, he also noted, “is one of the problems that has happened to the environment, which is why Earth Day celebration this year is focused on plastic.”

“Plastic is killing the fishes and killing the oceans and that is why we have to clean the oceans by not throwing plastics away but make money from them through recycling,” said the renowned environmentalist.

CEO of Recycle Point, Mazi Alison Ukonu, at the event, told the residents of Majek area of Ibeju-Lekki Local Government that his company was ready to pick their plastic and other waste materials for recycling and also pay them with cash or gift items based on the points they earn over time.

Ukonu said: “We will have a recycle point here at LUFASI for people to bring their plastic bottles, pure water nylons, cans and glass and they will be able to get cash or items in turn based on the points they earn and registration is free.”

He said the popular sportswear designer, Nike, in 2010 made a unit of its expensive jerseys out of seven plastic bottles, stressing that recycling can help the environment and boost economic activities through setting of cottage companies that process recyclable items.
A kilogramme of plastic bottles fetches a person about N30, he said, adding that people should know the value of what they throw away and the harm it causes in the ocean and the environment.

The event involved residents of the host community joining environmentalists to pick plastic bottles and other waste items from about three kilometres of the Majek community along the Lekki-Epe Expressway.

In a related development, Edo State Governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki has said the state government is pursuing a robust forestry programme to preserve the state’s biodiversity and conserve its forest belt.

The governor said this in commemoration of the International Mother Earth Day, marked every April 23, across the world by the United Nations and its various organs.

He said efforts were on to preserve the state’s flora and fauna to ensure that its forest reserve was not only protected, but that social, economic and political activities do not alter the state’s pristine biodiversity.

According to him, “Edo State has ample forest reserve, which if not carefully protected, will be lost to the forces of urbanisation. But we want to ensure that we do not lose the touch with mother earth and our forest belt. This is why we set machinery in motion to set up the forestry commission and also ensure that oil plantations in the state keep to the international conventions on protecting the environment from degradation.”

He said the state government would soon launch a document that contains plans and policies underpinning the development and exploitation of the state’s forest assets, noting that such a document would properly guard private investors on how to do business side-by-side the rich forests, its inhabitants and other various elements.