The Lagos State Government (LASG) on Saturday partnered with the Nigeria Conservation Foundation (NCF) to stage the Annual ‘Walk for Nature’ event to raise awareness on solution to plastic pollution and promote environmental sustainability.
The theme of the 17th edition of the walk is “Solutions to Plastic Pollution”.
The event was held simultaneously in three different locations in Lagos, Ikeja, Kosofe Local Government Area and Lagos Island.
Speaking at the event in Ogudu , Kosofe L.G.A., the Commissioner of the Environment and Water Resources, Mr Tokunbo Wahab, said that the collaboration between the state and the NCF in the past 17years has helped in no small measure to promote environmental awareness and advocacy on conservation matters in the State.
Represented by Dr Hassan Sanuth, Wahab said that the event also showcases the implementation of policies and programme of the state government on environmental protection and natural resources conservation.
According to Wahab, the theme for the 2023 edition, “Solutions to Plastic Pollution” is a wakeup call to us all on the adverse effect of plastic pollution on human health, the future generations, and the environment we live in.
“The aim is to provide the opportunity to sensitize individuals, enterprises and communities in preserving and enhancing the environment and trigger an alarm on the increasing global threat to the sustainability of the environment especially as it affects Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) 11, 12, 14 and 15 through the use of plastics.
“The LASG, through the THEMES Agenda of this administration of Mr. Governor, has continuously showcased environmental news in the print and electronic media as well as many online websites to increase awareness of the environmental degradation caused by plastic pollution and its resultant effects,” Wahab said.
The commissioner noted that the packaging sector has been identified as the largest generator of single use plastic in the world (according to UNEP).
“In Nigeria, it has been reported that about 2.5million tonnes of plastics is generated annually which include sachet water bags, single use plastic bags etc.
” Lagos State has been estimated to generate about 870,000 tonnes of plastics annually, these plastics being about 15% of total waste generated in the State.
“Also, the State Government in her efforts to ensure proper containerization and separation of waste at the point of generation is presently engaging major producers in the beverage and other sectors on the need to take responsibility for the end of life of these plastics through the extended producer responsibility to ensure cleaner and liveable Lagos.
” The indiscriminate dumping of plastics and its presence in drainages, canals, waterways, dump sites and its inability to biodegrade suggests that quick and alternative solutions be found to the menace of plastics in the environment to ensure the sustainability of our Mother Earth.
“These plastics pose a threat to humanity by altering natural ecosystems resulting in loss of habitat, biodiversity and the climate,” Wahab said.
He said that the state has also activated other agencies under the ministry of environment to ensure that wastes, especially plastic wastes are recycled in exchange for money.
He stressed that the policy thrust of the ministry to eliminate plastic pollution in the State was one of the factors that led to the encouragement of ‘Waste to Wealth Programme’.
He said that the government realised that tackling plastic pollution and waste management from generation point was critical.
“These involve 8Rs (Reduce, Reuse, Rethink, Repair, Re-gift, Recover, Recycle and Refuse) of sustainable waste management.
“Embracing sustainable plastic waste management practices will have a far-reaching effect on de-clogging of our drains and cleanliness of the general environment.
“The indiscriminate dumping of plastic waste is a major cause of flooding and we must all ensure an attitudinal change in our dealings with waste and environment,” Wahab said.
He enjoined Lagos residents to be part of the solution to plastic pollution by collaborating with the state government to rid Lagos metropolis of plastic
Also speaking, the Director-General of NCF, Dr Joseph Onoja said that the the major aim of the event is to increase awareness and advocates for a better and healthier environment where we everyone can prosper and live living in harmony with nature.
Represented by Mr Olaide Alli, Senior Manager/ Head Finance, Human Resources and Administration, NCF, Onoja said that the foundation was excited collaborating with the Lagos state government to advocate for the protection and preservation of the environment through the annual ‘Walk for Nature.’
He noted tha inspite of the efforts made by the state government through the ministry of the environment, plastic pollution still remain a menace in the state.
” Plastic Pollution has become a menace that cannot be overlooked, especially in a metropolitan city like Lagos .
“Lagos state being a coastal city and aquatic in nature is more susceptible to the effect of plastic pollution.
“Our oceans and beaches are filled with plastic waste which destroy the ocean, or marine ecosystem and they kill marine animals in their numbers.
“This is dangerous to us as people and city like Lagos,”Onoja said.
The director-general called attitudinal change and orientation about proper waste management, culture of maintaining cleaner surroundings and living a sustainable lifestyle.
He expressed appreciation to other partners who contributed in cash and kind to the success of the event.
Dignitaries present at the event included the Chairman of Kosofe L.G.A ., Mr Moyosore Ogunleye, Member Representing Kosofe at the Lagos State House of Assembly, Hon. Babatunde Sanni, staff of the L.G.A, staff of Fidelity bank, students and other partners.