In commemoration of the 2018 World Environment Day themed â€˜Beat Plastic Pollutionâ€™, Oando PLC championed a clean-up exercise of Cowrie Creek, Ozumba Mbadiwe water way. World Environment Day is an initiative by the United Nations (UN) to encourage worldwide awareness and action to protect the environment. It is seen as the “people’s day” set aside to do something to take care of the Earth.Â
Speaking on the significance of the initiative, Kayode Boladale, GM Operations Integrity, Oando Energy Resources said: â€œWe have taken up the mantle to clean up the Cowrie Creek,OzumbaMbadiwe waterway in a bid to beat plastic pollution which is a menace in Lagos. Did you know that plastic accounts for 10% of all the waste we generate? Did you know we buy 1 million plastic bottles every minute? Did you know it takes up to 450 years for plastic to decompose? With facts like these it is imperative that we start to rethink the way we use plastic for the good of the planet. We championed this initiative in order to set an example for others; individuals and companies to follow.â€
With a population of over 170 million people, Nigeria produces more plastic waste than the infrastructure can manage. Lagos, a population of 21 million inhabitants, produces upwards of 10,000 metric tonnes of plastic waste daily. Only 40% of the waste is properly disposed of, the remaining 60% litters the roads and waterways. In an interview on the current state of waste in the waterways, Damilola Famakinwa; Managing Director, Lagos State Waterways Authority (LASWA) said, â€œLagosians litter the waterways with empty plastic bottles, nylon and various kinds of filth. This is totally unacceptable by any standard. We even have organizations emptying their waste water and various chemical pollution in the waterways.â€
Plastic is extremely durable and environmental experts have reported that, â€œevery bit of plastic ever made still exists.â€ As plastic debris float in the seawater, it absorbs dangerous pollutants. These chemicals are highly toxic and have a wide range of chronic effects, including endocrine disruption and cancer-causing mutations.Â
When animals eat these pieces of plastic, the toxins are absorbed into their bodies and passed up the food chain, for example, when fishes and other marine species mistake the plastic items for food, they ingest the particles and pass these toxic chemicals through the food chain and ultimately to our dinner plates.
Speaking at the clean-up exercise, an employee of Oando who took part in the clean-up said: â€œI couldnâ€™t have asked for a better way to spend my day; knowing that I played a part to reduce plastic pollution and in the process clean up my environment gives me a sense of fulfilment, I saved a few marine animals today. Having witnessed first-hand the amount of waste in our waterways, Iâ€™ve learnt that we have to treat our environment with respect, by disposing our refuse properly.â€
The waterway clean up exercise is one of the many ways Oando PLC is actively supporting the implementation ofthe United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to make cities inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable.
The company recognises SDGs as a global priority for the next 15 years and has made it a responsibility to incorporate practices and initiatives within its operations that support the successful implementation of the SDGs.Â Â To this end the company does the following: