In commemoration of the 2018 World Environment Day themed ‘Beat Plastic Pollution’, Oando PLC championed a clean-up exercise of the Ozumba Mbadiwe water way.
World Environment Day is an initiative by the United Nations (UN) to encourage worldwide awareness and action to protect of the environment. It is seen as the “people’s day” for doing something to take care of the Earth.
Speaking on the significance of the initiative, Kayode Boladale, GM Operations Integrity, Oando Energy Resources said: “We have taken up the mantle to clean up the Cowrie Creek Ozumba Mbadiwe waterway in a bid to beat plastic pollution which is a menace in Lagos.
“Did you know that plastic accounts for 10% of all the waste we generate? Did you know we buy 1 million plastic bottles every minute? Did you know it takes up to 450 years for plastic to decompose? With facts like these it is imperative that we start to rethink the way we use plastic for the good of the planet. We championed this initiative in order to set an example for others; individuals and companies to follow” he said.
With a population of over 170 million people, Nigeria produces more plastic waste than the infrastructure can manage. In Lagos, a population of 21 million inhabitants produces upwards of 10,000 metric tonnes of plastic waste daily. Only 40% of the waste is properly disposed of, the remaining 60% litters the roads and waterways.
In an interview on the current state of waste in the waterways, Damilola Famakinwa; Managing Director, Lagos State Waterways Authority (LASWA) said,“Lagosians litter the waterways with empty plastic bottles, nylon and various kinds of filth. This is totally unacceptable by any standard. We even have organizations emptying their waste water and various chemical pollution in the waterways.”
Plastic is extremely durable and environmental experts have reported that, “every bit of plastic ever made still exists.” As plastic debris float in the seawater, it absorbs dangerous pollutants. These chemicals are highly toxic and have a wide range of chronic effects, including endocrine disruption and cancer-causing mutations. When animals eat these pieces of plastic, the toxins are absorbed into their bodies and passed up the food chain, for example, when fishes and other marine species mistake the plastic items for food, they ingest the particles and pass these toxic chemicals through the food chain and ultimately to our dinner plates.
Speaking at the clean-up exercise, an employee of Oando who took part in the clean-up said: “I couldn’t have asked for a better way to spend my day; knowing that I played a part to reduce plastic pollution and in the process clean up my environment gives me a sense of fulfilment, I saved a few marine animals today. Having witnessed first-hand the amount of waste in our waterways, I’ve learnt that we have to treat our environment with respect, by disposing our refuse properly.”
The waterway clean up exercise is one of the many ways Oando PLC is actively supporting the implementation of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals to make cities inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable; conserve and sustainably use the oceans, sea and marine resources; and ensure access to water and sanitation for all.
In line with creating a better environment, Oando recently moved into its new headquarters, the Wings Office Complex. The building has been coined one of the most energy efficient buildings in Lagos. It filters air supply at a minimum rate of 8 litres per person/second, has smart lighting systems and external cladding designed to limit direct solar gain.
At the end of the clean-up exercise, Oando successfully rid the Ozumba Mbadiwe waterway of plastic bottles weighing up to 5,000kg in one day.
Speaking, Alero Balogun, Head Corporate Communications, Oando PLC, said: “As a company, we will continue to play our part to make the world a better place by championing initiatives such as this to ensure that we leave a safe planet for future generations to inhabit. The Cowrie Creek waterway being right next to our new head office makes this initiative personal to the company. I urge everyone to reduce their use of plastics and when used to make an effort to recycle; if you cannot reuse it, refuse it.”