The Lagos State Government (LASG) and the Nigeria Conservation Foundation (NCF) joined forces on Saturday for the annual ‘Walk for Nature’ event, aiming to raise awareness and advocate for solutions to plastic pollution while promoting environmental sustainability.
This marked the 17th edition of the walk, with the central theme being “Solutions to Plastic Pollution.” The event took place simultaneously at three different locations in Lagos, including Ikeja, Kosofe Local Government Area, and Lagos Island.
During the event held in Ogudu, Kosofe L.G.A., Mr. Tokunbo Wahab, the Commissioner of the Environment and Water Resources, emphasised the significance of the 17-year partnership between the state and NCF in enhancing environmental awareness and conservation advocacy in Lagos.
Dr. Hassan Sanuth, representing Mr. Wahab, highlighted that the event not only showcases the state government’s environmental protection and natural resource conservation initiatives but also serves as a wake-up call regarding the adverse effects of plastic pollution on human health, future generations, and our environment.
The event’s objective is to sensitise individuals, businesses, and communities about the importance of preserving and enhancing the environment. It also aims to raise awareness about the global threat posed by plastic pollution to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) 11, 12, 14, and 15.
Mr. Wahab stressed that the packaging sector is the world’s largest generator of single-use plastics, with Nigeria producing approximately 2.5 million tonnes of plastics annually, including sachet water bags and single-use plastic bags. Lagos State alone is responsible for around 870,000 tonnes of plastics each year, accounting for approximately 15% of the total waste generated in the state.
The government has taken measures to engage major producers in the beverage and other sectors to implement extended producer responsibility, ensuring proper waste management for these plastics. The presence of plastic waste in drainages, canals, waterways, and dump sites highlights the urgent need for alternative solutions to address this menace and safeguard the environment.
Wahab stressed that these plastics pose a serious threat to the environment, leading to habitat loss, biodiversity reduction, and climate change. The state government has activated various agencies under the Ministry of Environment to promote plastic waste recycling and the ‘Waste to Wealth Programme.’
The policy emphasis on eliminating plastic pollution in the state is based on the 8Rs of sustainable waste management: Reduce, Reuse, Rethink, Repair, Re-gift, Recover, Recycle, and Refuse. Implementing sustainable plastic waste management practices will help prevent flooding and maintain a cleaner environment.
Lagos residents were urged to collaborate with the government to tackle plastic pollution and contribute to a cleaner Lagos metropolis.
Dr. Joseph Onoja, Director-General of NCF, stressed that the main goal of the event is to raise awareness and advocate for a healthier environment in harmony with nature. He expressed appreciation for the collaboration with the Lagos state government and emphasised the ongoing challenges posed by plastic pollution in the state, especially in a coastal and aquatic city like Lagos.
Onoja called for attitudinal change and orientation towards proper waste management, maintaining clean surroundings, and embracing sustainable lifestyles. He also expressed gratitude to the partners who supported the event.
Dignitaries in attendance included the Chairman of Kosofe L.G.A., Mr. Moyosore Ogunleye, Hon. Babatunde Sanni, who represents Kosofe at the Lagos State House of Assembly, as well as local government staff, Fidelity Bank employees, students, and other partners.