By Dapo Udom and Vivian Ihechu
As the world marked the 2019 World Ocean Day on Saturday, the members of staff of Nestle Nigeria Plc and their partners embarked on Beach Clean Up at the Redline Resort Beach, Okun-Ajah, Lagos, with emphasis on proper disposal of plastic and other recyclable wastes.
The theme for the 2019 World Ocean Day is: “Gender and the Ocean”.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that those involved in the exercise restated the need for caution in the disposal of wastes, especially plastics, as by 2030 the world would have more plastics in the oceans than fishes.
They said that there was 13 million tonnes of plastic leak into the ocean annually and this kills 100,000 marine animals annually, constituting a major challenge to achieving the 2030 agenda for Sustainable Development.esort Beach.
Mrs Victoria Uwadoka, Corporate Communications and Public Affairs Manager, Nestlé Nigeria, urged Nigerians to desist from disposing wastes indiscriminately to maintain a sustainable environment.
Uwadoka, who spoke to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), said one of the major issues in the environment was improper disposal of plastics which clog up our waterways and get into the ocean.
“A recent study shows that in a couple of years, we would probably have more plastics in the ocean than fishes and this should be a major concern to all of us.
“If our ecosystem is destroyed and we don’t have an ecology to provide us with the nutrition that we all need, then we have a serious problem.
“So, as we celebrate the oceans today, we are bound to ensure that the oceans are free of plastics,” she said.
Uwadoka said that the clean-up was a way of raising the consciousness of the public about the role that all had to play in ensuring that the waterways and oceans were safe.
“I will advise Nigerians to be mindful of how they dispose wastes in order not to end up constituting a problem to the society in the nearest future.
“We should desist from throwing wastes out of our cars and other vehicles, in the drainage systems and on the road.
“We should all be conscious of the impact that improper disposal of wastes can have on the environment,” she said.
The manager advised Nigerians to properly gather and segregate wastes so that they could be recycled instead of being disposed of indiscrminatley.
She said that by so doing, we woud have a cleaner environment free of malaria and water-borne diseases.
“Malaria is encouraged when our plastics are gathered at one place and collect water providing an enabling environment for malaria causing agents to breed.
“So, the cleanliness of our environment is for our own good and I urge all of us to come together and play a part to ensure that we have a cleaner environment,” she said.
Uwadoka said that the government had already put laws in place to ensure that our environment remained clean but more needs to be done with enforcing the laws.
“However, Nigerians do not need to wait for enforcement of these laws before doing what needs to be done to have a better and healthier environment for us all,” she said.
Mr Mazi Ukonu, the founder of Recycle Points, and NGO partnering with Nestle Nigeria in the exrcise, said that his organisation was a waste recycling and social benefit initiative that motivates citizens to recycle by creating value for everyday waste.
Ukonu said that his organisation partnered with Nestlé to facilitate the clean up of Redline Resort Beach at Otomokpo Community which is a community by the coastal area.
“Nestlé has all its staff from the various locations in Lagos come around to demonstrate the importance of clearing the beach fronts from plastic wastes.
“The idea is to show a commitment to ensuring that these plastics do not get into the oceans.
“It has been projected that if we continue disposing the way we are doing by 2030, we will have more plastics in the oceans than fishes,” he said.
Ukonu said that there were a lot of initiatives that reward people for bringing in recyclable wastes and therefore, urged people to take advantage of such initiatives.
“I encourage people to take advantage of these initiatives by desisting from littering the environment with plastics and recyclable wastes.
“If we continue to litter, the wastes end up at dump sites where they are eventually burnt and toxins are released into the atmosphere which is not good for the environment.
“Therefore, I urge everyone to identify the recyclable items of their household waste, gather them together and look for a good initiative like Recycling Points to get rewarded,” he said.
Ukonu, commended Nestlé for the initiative and urged other corporate organisations to follow suit in organising more programmes that would encourage environmental sustainability for a better future.
NAN reports that over a tonne of plastic wastes were recovered from the exercise and would be sent to RecyclePoints for recycling.