The Lagos State Government has called on residents to change their attitude to waste management to checkmate environmental pollution and protect the ecosystem.
The Secretary to the State Government, Mrs. Folashade Jaji, who made the call during the flag-off ceremony of a seven-day intense cleaning of the Waterways by the Mental and Environmental Development Initiative (MEDIC), in collaboration with HRM Abisogun Foundation and other partners.
Jaji said, “with the upsurge in the blockage of drainages and waterways with plastic bottles and water sachets, it is imperative for all and sundry to have a change mindset towards the environment by disposing of our waste properly and to educate our children and wards against indiscriminate disposal at all times”.
According to her, it is a known fact that plastics endure for 450 years with its damaging effects to the ecosystem and constitutes a threat to human and wildlife, as many seabirds and animals are killed yearly by plastics, stressing that the number of plastics in the sea outnumbers the marine animals by six to one.
The SSG said Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu is conscious of the enormous global challenge of plastic waste management, which has been projected to reach 12 billion tonnes in landfills by Y2050, adding that out of this, only five per cent has been recycled.
She pointed out that government under the T.H.E.M.E.S development agenda committed human and material resources to tackle waste management in all the 57 Local Governments and Local Council Development Areas.
In her words: “All the agencies in the environment sub-sector have been directed to ensure compliance by the people, while over 200 recyclers have been registered under the ‘waste to wealth initiative’. They have been producing durable and beautiful items from the plastics”.
Jaji further stated that government, through Lagos Waste Management Authority, in 2019 introduced the Blue Box Programme to promote the extraction of plastics and other recyclable waste to conserve the natural environment, through sorting of waste before collection while people are rewarded for picking up plastics.
She added that the Lagos State Environmental Protection Agency (LASEPA) and Lagos State Waterways Authority often collaborate with a private organisation to clear the seaside to prevent pollution and water transportation accidents regularly.
The SSG commended Doyinsola Ogunye and Lekan Bakare of MEDIC for collaborating with others on the Coastal Plastic Search Exercise in Iru and urged others to emulate such gesture, not just for plastics but other wastes for a healthy and Greater Lagos.
Speaking on the need to preserve the life underwater, His Royal Majesty, Oba Abdulwasiu Omogbolahan Lawal, the Oniru of Iru Land, said it is an antidote for sustainable living, noting that the current state of unrestrained littering of the marine is not only unacceptable but an embarrassment to tourists, which is capable of reducing the tourism value of the State.
He explained that Iru Kingdom is a coastal and peninsular settlement that is largely affected by climate change in terms of flooding, beach erosion and pressure from the incessant urban development activities.