Vanessa Obioha writes about a group of young professionals who are championing the
cause for a cleaner environment
From Sweden to Morocco, young people are amplifying their voices on environmental and climate issues. They are on the streets, classrooms urging leaders and citizens to protect the earth from further damage. In Nigeria, a group of young professionals are leading the cause for a cleaner earth.
Known as Humanity Nigeria, a non-profit organisation, the team of over 140 youths from different backgrounds are challenging the status quo and creating awareness on environmental issues.
“We are deeply amazed and concerned about the massive and increasing amount of plastic wastes in our environment and the fact that one way or the other, we all contributed to it. Thus, we all must come together, work together, for the sake of the Earth, to free our environments and our Earth, from plastic bottle wastes. This is why we rose as catalysts to bring this to pass as quickly as possible,” explained 24-year-old undergraduate Lilian Visinoni, who is a director at the organisation.
She added that the level of enlightenment in Nigeria regarding the environment is relatively low, and as such, the earth and its environment are constantly in danger.
“Our environment is currently suffering from excessive plastic bottle wastes and other forms of environmental pollution because of the very low level of enlightenment among the populace. And year after year, our environment suffers more degradation as a result of continuous neglect and abuse.”
Identifying the major environmental threats in Nigeria as plastic wastes pollution, oil-spillage, and deforestation, Visinoni warned that if they are not nipped in the bud, the human race will be brought to its knees.
To achieve this, the one-year-old organisation rolled out some campaigns. When it officially launched last year, it started with a ‘Save the Earth’ global campaign for a clean environment. There were only 25 members at the time.
For this year, they are planning the Earth Festival Nigeria which Visinoni superintends.
“The Earth Festival Nigeria is a novel idea. It was formed out of the need to raise a global voice for a clean environment by bringing young people together to celebrate youthfulness while reminding the world of the need to keep the earth safe for all.”
Themed ‘Earth For All’, Visinoni stated that the singular driving force for the festival is to ensure that Nigeria is among countries lending their voice for a cleaner environment.
“We need to raise a global voice for the care of the earth, a voice by young Nigerians, from Nigeria, from Africa, so that in the roll call of environmentally friendly nations, Nigeria will come top and be globally respected. And with the global respect for Nigeria as an environmentally conscious and active country, more young Nigerians can stand and take charge in leading more environmental campaigns for the benefit of all.”
As a way of encouraging young persons to join their cause, the team will be embarking on a World Guinness Record Challenge. They will be bringing together over 10,000 young volunteers from across the 36 States in Nigeria to help in picking five million pieces of plastic bottle wastes from gutters, streets, and canals to set the Guinness World Record for the highest number of plastic bottle wastes picked by a team in five days.
She calls it an ambitious task to draw global attention and get people to take the environment seriously. Moreover, they have been able to get support and endorsement from some influential personalities in society.
The initial idea was to get rid of one million plastic bottles in three days but when the pandemic happened, they had to re-strategize.
The Earth Festival Nigeria which was birthed in February is scheduled for September 22 to 27, while the Guinness World Record Challenge will kick off on September 22 to 26.
Also, there will be a Lagos State Public Participation Day scheduled for September 26.