By Solomon Eko
Lagos with an estimated population of over 21million produces more waste than any other city in Nigeria. Most of the waste generated ends up in landfills and the non-biodegradable ones clog gutters and waterways, causing flood when it rains. The recent Lekki flood which destroyed so many houses and properties was a direct result of indiscriminate dumping of PET plastic bottles, plastic bags and sachet water into gutters, which eventually came back to hunt them.
In the bid to take the message of proper waste management and environmental protection to the residents of Surulere, the young change agents of WeSeparateWaste Waste Rescue Club, a club set up through the project WeSeparateWaste as a sustainability mechanism to engage students and give them a platform to help in solving the waste challenges in their schools and the society at large came together to plan a one of its kind ‘Green Walkout’ to engage members of Surulere community and its environs in conversations and demand for a waste free Lagos. The walkout was a peaceful campaign with objectives of sensitising Surulere residents on how poor waste management affects climate change; passing across messages about the importance of waste sorting and recycling. They sparked up conversations about waste free gutters, streets and neighbourhood among community members and leaders and told them how their actions on the environment affected their health and general wellbeing. They were also picking up PET plastic bottles and other plastic waste while walking and enlightening members of the communities about the dangers of these wastes, which causes harm to our health and the environment.
During the walkout the students inscribed environmental messages on placards and cardboards advocating for a sustainable environment.
The students said the walkout was important mainly because of the timeliness at this period of rainy season where they have witnessed floods resulting from blockage of drainage channels due to indiscriminate refuse dumping. Therefore they were using the event as a medium to create awareness and sensitize the public on proper waste management and more consciousness about the environment. The uniqueness of this environmental protection campaign is that it was carried out by young persons, who are already making a difference with waste in their schools by sorting and using it innovatively for arts and craft.
There were over 200 Waste Rescue Club Members present from 8 schools in Surulere-New Era Girls Senior Secondary, Eric Moore Senior High School, Gbaja Girls Senior High School, Obele Community Senior Secondary School, Ideal Girls Senior High School, Surulere Girls Senior High School, Iponri Estate Senior High School and Ansar-Ud-Deen Senior High School. The walkout started from Teslim Balogun stadium through Adeniran Ogunsanya and Bode Thomas and terminated at Gbaja Girls Senior High School, one of the beneficiary schools of the Waste Rescue Club with music and refreshment and the students still energized.