The Lagos State Environmental Protection Agency (LASEPA) and the Seven – Up Bottling Company (SBC) on Saturday took the advocacy of trash for cash to Surulere Local Government Area and Coker Community Development Area.
The waste to wealth crusade saw the gathering of huge numbers of persons with bags of PET plastics, used engine oil, and old television sets in exchange for cash.
Speaking to newsmen at the event, the General Manager of LASEPA, Dr Dolapo Fasawe, said that the advocacy, which was done on behalf of the Lagos State Government is to protect and clean the environment.
Fasawe said that the campaign tagged ” Cash for Trash” was one of the programmes designed by the agency to ensure that single use plastics do not end up in the dump sites.
“Single use plastics are recyclable. There is value when you exchange them for cash.
“We are here today to talk to people about the harm improper disposal of single use plastics can cost to our health, the environment and even the well being of species in the ocean.
“It clogs our drains, it clogs our canals. That is why we have floods and global warming,” Fasawe said.
The general manager said that plastics in the ocean could be eaten by fishes, which in turn are consumed by humans, which could lead to cancer.
According to her, people are dying because of improper disposal of plastic.
She said that the project was also carried out in partnership with the Lagos Waste Management Authority (LAWMA) and the association of Lagos Recyclers.
“We are going to leave about five recyclers behind.
“Just carry your plastic bottles, used plastic materials, used waste oil, used electronic and electrical waste and you will get money for it.
“Our motto as an agency, is that there is nothing called waste.
“Everybody’s waste is somebody’s raw material and there’s money in waste if you have the knowledge.
“So we have brought this knowledge here today.
“And we hope that it will continue to spread around all the local governments as mandated by this administration,” Fasawe said.
The general manager noted that the project started in 2020 and the agency had been able to cover about 12 local government areas, especially within the coastal communities in the state.
She added that the overriding objective of the Babajide Sanwo-Olu led administration is to carry the people along in the transition from a linear to circular economy.
She warned that the state government had zero tolerance to waste disposal into drainage carnals.
The Deputy Economic Political Chief at the United States Consulate Lagos, Kenise Hill, said that the US government is in support of the efforts of LASEPA in tackling the challenge of plastic waste.
“We think it is a wonderful opportunity to engage the community to fix a common problem.
“Which is to find a means to get rid of wastes that can sometimes end up on the streets and then the waterways and leads to health impacts.
“So we believe that what they are doing today here is much needed.
“And it’s a model that I think will serve not just for the Lagos communities, but the nation,” Hill said.
The highlight of the event was the comissioning of the Surulere Zonal Office of LASEPA by Dr Omobolaji Gaji, Permanent Secretary, Office of Environmental Service.
The Surulere Zonal Office is the 20th of the Zonal offices of the agency.
The event was graced by officials of the local government, development partners. civil society organisations, members of the diplomatic corps and selected students.
By Fabian Ekeruche