By Emmanuel Oluwadola
In commemoration of World Cleanup Day, several environmental advocacy organizations in Akure, Ondo State capital, trooped out to observe a cleanup exercise.
World Cleanup Day is a day that unites millions of volunteers, governments and organizations in 191 countries of the world to tackle the global waste problems and build a sustainable world.
Organizations such as Aquaworld, Elomgreenie, Yali Network Ondo, JCI Akure, NECOR, ACEF, and FSDI among others partnered with the Ondo State Waste Management Authority (ODSWMA) to mark the year’s global cleanup day.
Volunteers from various organizations in Ondo State converged at Total filling station, Oba-Adesida road, Akure, with their cleanup materials and infographic used for sensitization.
Fortunately, a waste management truck arrived at the spot where these social-change agents first evacuated the heavy dumped wastes along Oba-Adesida road, Oja oba, Akure.
The popular Oba-Adesida pedestrian bridge also was cleaned up. Plastic bottles, nylons, and other single-used debris were retrieved for proper disposal.
Reacting to the exercise, The Ondo Yali Network Coordinator, Saheed Ibrahim encouraged individuals in the state to be conscious of their environments. He noted that people’s well-being and good living depend on the environment they live in.
He said: “The significance of World Cleanup Day is to ensure that we contribute our quotas to make sure the environment is clean and that the environment is habitable for both humans and animals. When you destroy the environment, you destroy lives.”
Ibrahim further said that both the systems in charge of waste disposal and the people disposing of the waste have some roles to play. He urged both parties to be alive to their responsibilities and ensure that our society is free of indiscriminate waste.
The Protocol Officer for Aquaworld, Olutade Damilola also reaffirmed that observing the global cleanup day is good and will positively help the State in one way or the other. He reiterated that cleanliness starts in households.
“This morning, we have more than two or three organizations represented here. We as citizens should not wait on the government, we are the government. Most of the wastes found in the oceans, drainages etc, come most of the time directly from our homes. We need to manage our waste bins,” Damilola remarked.
Speaking with a Health Officer, Mr Igbasan Oluwatosin who was present at the scene with his colleagues said he was excited to see the youths having joined this global initiative and he advised citizens to take cleanliness as a daily routine.
“When we clean up our environment, we will be in good well-being because what we give to the environment is what the environment will give back to us. I am pleading with everyone, let’s always take good care of our environments and not leave it over to the government,” said the health officer, Mr Oluwatosin.
The Chiefgreenie of Elomgreenie, Kayode Ojelola commented that even though it was a voluntary exercise for these non-governmental organizations to have come out to observe this day, they still faced some major challenges.
He said: “One of the major challenges we encountered was our inability to get help from government entities. We as NGOs have a role to play and the government’s role is to carry out policies which can be used to promote activities like this.”
“We walked up to them for trucks, but unfortunately they said that they don’t have a truck to give to us. If we had major trucks for this event, we would have cleaned up more places we left untouched.
“We have youths who are willing to give their time, but the unavailability of trucks limited our activities to the ones we were able to achieve today,” Kayode disclosed.
Bukola Iris, who volunteered with Elomgreenie while disclosing what prompted her to join the event said, “Basically, world cleanup day is a day set aside to clean up the earth. It is the day when volunteers come together from all over the world to clean their environments.
“I volunteered for this event because I have a passion for health. I always look forward to a planet that is free of dirt,” she said.
Another volunteer, Rachael Oluwaseyi also said she was thrilled to be part of this great global event.
“When people gather together to do something meaningful, it is always a great experience for me. They say, ‘health is wealth’, so that is what we are just trying to bring out of this whole situation,” Rachael remarked.
Samuel Ayomidotun also said he volunteered with Aquaworld and Yali Network because he wants the environment to be a serene place which is one of the importance of observing the cleanup day.
“With all these cleanups, as ocean advocates, we are trying to reduce the number of wastes that may probably get into the water bodies,” he said.
The organizations however proceeded to the market to sensitize traders about the importance of commemorating world cleanup day to enhance their knowledge about keeping the environment clean and hygienic for all living beings.