Coca-Cola Foundation Partners AREAi on Zero Plastic Initiative

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By Raheem Akingbolu

In a bid to promote a “World Without Waste”, the Coca-Cola Foundation in partnership with Aid for Rural Education Access Initiative (AREAi) recently kicked off its Mission Zero Plastic initiative in Kwara State.

Recall that the “Mission Zero Plastic” initiative, funded by The Coca-Cola Foundation, was initially launched earlier this year in Abuja and has now moved to Kwara State where the project was officially launched recently.

This project seeks to promote a recycling culture amongst residents of Kwara State while raising awareness on the harmful effects of plastic pollution.

Speaking on the initiative, Director, Public Affairs, Communications and Sustainability, Coca-Cola Nigeria, Amaka Onyemelukwe, stated that the project seeks to curb plastic pollution through the recovery and repurposing of 600 tons of PET Bottles, and creation of 30 EcoBrick Structures (constructed from repurposed bottles) for increased educational opportunities for 7200 out-of-school children.

She noted that the project would help communities in Kwara State tackle the plastic waste problem and better understand how and where to recycle for a more sustainable environment.
Also speaking on the project, Founder, AREAi, Gideon Olanrewaju, said: “I am excited to partner with The Coca-Cola Foundation on this initiative and to raise awareness on the importance of waste management in Kwara State.

“I believe this project will drive an inclusive and transformative change in the way people view waste across the country. With initiatives like this, I believe Kwara State is on its way to becoming waste-free.”

In support of the project’s vision to declare Ilorin a “zero plastic city”, Olanrewaju added that the Government had committed to rendering support to make the vision a reality.

“Commitments have been made by the Government to support Mission Zero Plastic’s recovery strategies. Already in the works is a policy to equip hotels, restaurants, schools and office spaces with public recycling bins to aid waste collection across the state,” he added.

Other notable dignitaries in attendance at the launch were: Representatives from the Ministry of Education and Human Development as well as the Ministry of Environment and Forestry, Kwara State Environmental Protection Agency (KWEPA) and Adeyi Kaosarah, Senior Special Assistant to the Kwara State Governor on Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).