Officials of the Center for Journalism Innovation and Development (CJID) and other organisations, on Saturday, took plastic waste management and climate change (loss and damage and climate finance) sensitization to the streets of Abuja.
The awareness walk, tagged: “Ploggathon ” was a two-part activity mapped out to commemorate World Cleanup Day this year.
The first leg of the day’s activities was a marathon walk and picking of plastic waste along the major roads of Abuja. The walk began from Jabi Lake and ended at the Moshood Abiola Stadium, while the second phase was dedicated to public discussions and sensitization on climate financing and Climate Loss and Damage in Africa.
Winners from the marathon were announced at the finish point and awarded cash prizes.
These activities were facilitated by Plogging Nigeria, the Swedish Embassy in Abuja and CJID through its Agricultural Journalism and Climate Change Project, among other partners.
The administrative director of Plogging Nigeria, Ayodeji Omilabu, said that “Ploggathon” was organised with the aim of bringing together about 500 people from different walks of life to amplify the importance of clean and sustainable environmental practices through accelerated community and corporate actions to hasten the transition to a less plastic-burdened society.
“The reason for this event is to celebrate World Cleanup Day by creating awareness around waste management, plastic pollution, climate finance and the loss and damage,” he told PREMIUM TIMES in an interview.
In her remarks, the Deputy Head of Mission at the Swedish Embassy in Abuja, Carina Greiff, said the embassy has for years partnered with Plogging Nigeria in its various “plogging activities”.
“We never miss the chance to contribute to the promotion of environmental awareness through our friends at Plogging Nigeria,” she said.
Every day, Ms Greiff said, millions of plastic wastes are being thrown around on the streets in Nigeria.
She said: “It cannot be overemphasised that plastic and nylon waste in our landfills causes significant damage to the soil and our food in the long run.”
“It takes the actions of one person to inspire change and cause people to see things differently, so thank you for being an inspiration to your friends and family. You are the movement.”
The Climate Change Project Manager at the CJID, Felicia Dairo, said World Cleanup Day goes beyond just clean-ups or picking trash as it is also about a strong and unique network of doers who share the vision of a waste-free world.
She told participants that participating in the day’s activities has made them become part of a collective force actively addressing the pressing issue of litter and waste in the country and beyond.
“It’s a chance to roll up our sleeves, put on our gloves, and join hands in creating a cleaner, healthier planet for all. Together, we can make a significant difference in our communities and contribute to a more sustainable future,” she added.
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Commenting on the events, the Global Initiative for Food Security and Ecosystem Preservation (GIFSEP) team lead, David Terungwa, described the day as a joyous and special day to cater for the environment.
He said every day is World Cleanup Day, but on Saturday they came out to create awareness and join hands in keeping the environment clean and safe.
“It is important because the environment is our life. Our health is dependent on the environment, the water and food we drink and eat are from the environment, and when we die, we will still go back to the environment,” he said.
The World Cleanup Day
The initiative of World Cleanup Day began in the small northern European country of Estonia, in 2008. That year, about 50,000 people united to clean up the entire country in just five hours. On that day, a global bottom-up civic movement was born and it spread like wildfire globally.
Since then, “World Cleanup Day ” has been celebrated every third Saturday in September, bringing people together worldwide to clean up and care for their communities.
The theme for this year’s WCD is “Let’s Do It World,” to manage solid waste and clean up litter from forests, rivers, streets, and beaches.
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