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LASEPA educates Lagosians on reusable plastics, exchanges cash for recyclable items

By Monsurudeen Olowoopejo

The Lagos State Environmental Protection Agency (LASEPA) has begun to engage Lagosians on the need to engage in proper plastic waste disposal as well as embrace reusable plastics in their daily activities, reeling out benefits of their actions to Nigeria’s development particularly within the state.

LASEPA said that the engagement of Lagosians on reusable plastics and proper waste disposal was to reduce all forms of pollution that could have negative impact on the climate globally especially in Lagos, saying, this is why we are rewarding Lagosians with cash in exchange for recyclable waste/ single-use plastics through our campaign tagged “Trash For Cash”

The agency in collaboration with the Cleaning Practitioners Association of Nigeria (CPAN) held a sensitization walk/ clean up exercise to mark the year 2021 World Environment Day (WED), with the theme“Ecosystem Restoration” and jointly called for collective action against indiscriminate disposal of plastics wastes.

They argued that the joint action against indiscriminate waste disposal of recyclable wastes in the drainages, oceans and other water channels was to prevent Lagosians from drinking polluted water and eating poisoned seafood.

Speaking on the ongoing engagement during a sensitization walk to Obalende axis, the General Manager of LASEPA, Dr. Dolapo Fasawe, said that the public engagement was to enshrine self-enforcement as the government cannot be everywhere to monitor and supervise residents activities in its drive to ensure the state was rid of plastic pollution.

Fasawe emphasized that the choice of Obalende underbridge for the Trash for Cash was as a result of the unfriendly environment and blocked drainages, therefore, need to educate our people on the consequences of indiscriminate disposal of plastics, its effects on the environment, benefits of recycling and clean environmental practices to good quality of life.

“Today‘s exercise was to create public awareness on the need to rescue the environment from unfriendly activities and the need for all to be conscious of actions that affect the existence of life on health. Our objective is to advocate for sustainable solutions to all forms of environmental degradations and reduce the negative effect of climate change on the environment”, she said.

On the cash for trash, the LASEPA boss, who rewarded a 67-year-old woman, Ife Johnson, that had been waste for recycling collector for over 25 years and using its proceed to support her family, argued that the Waste to wealth initiative remains a sustainable international recognised initiative with an objective of generating less waste, encouraging reusable materials as well as promoting recycling and conversion of waste to new products which translates into income generation and job opportunities for our people.

“These plastics are treasure raw materials, manufacturers are eagerly searching for,to recycle into new useful products in exchange for cash rewards. Ironically, somebody’s waste is another person’s useful material.

“Our cash for trash initiative was to discourage disposal of plastics in the drains, water channels and not end up as foods and water we drink respectively. She mentioned that her agency would measure the impact of the exercise through, clear drains, absence of wash off plastics, and free flow of drainage after rains in other to appraise the exercises. To garner support for our campaign, we made our offer attractive and paid higher than market values to promote plastic recovery and attitudinal change towards against non-reusable products.” She added.

The LASEPA boss further reiterated the commitment of her Agency to protect the Land, Air, and water in the state and insist that all industries treat their trade effluent before discharging it to the environment to avoid further pollution.

She also enjoined the people to cooperate with the Government and take responsibility by ensuring plastic wastes are sorted and dropped into the bins that would be strategically placed by the Agency, where recyclers could pick them to avoid polluting the environment and the ocean bodies in the state.

Earlier, the National President of CPAN, Dr. Tunde Ayeye, commended LASEPA for its un-relented effort to keep the environment safe and healthy for all which is one of the ways to restore the ecosystem.

“Nature has given us the environment and therefore our responsibilities is to take care of it against natural disasters as we have no other comfort zone. The United Nation’s Organisation ‘(UNO) has declared the decade of action for ecosystem restoration and therefore the need crusade to enlighten our people of the need to protect the earth and work towards tacking of global environmental challenges.”He noted.

Adeyete, who stressed on the importance of a clean and hygienic environment to the fight against COVID-19, reiterated the commitment of his association’s support in the fight against the menace of plastic pollution and urged the people to take responsibility for the care and protection of the environment that nature has bequeathed on us.

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