By Innocent Onoh
As the rains fully set in, communities across the country have been urged to imbibe the culture of environmental sanitation including clearing of blocked drains in order to check flood incidents,usually associated with heavy rainfalls.
The Nigerian Conservation Foundation, NCF, and its partners including Oando Foundation and Sumitomo Chemical made the call while mobilizing residents of Orile in Apapa Iganmu Council to clean-up their surroundings during the Thursday Weekly Sanitation Exercise in Lagos State.
Flooding has sadly become a yearly occurrence in Nigeria ,causing mass ejection of people from their homes, destruction of properties and lost of lives.
Although flood attacks often follow heavy rainfalls, it is a fact that they are worsened by the poor attitude of the people to the environment, especially through indiscriminate dumping of refuse that end up in the drains ,blocking them and impeding the flow of water.
It is against this backdrop that the stakeholders called on communities to be environmentally friendly at all times, especially now that the rainy season is expected to fully set in.
In her remark, the Head Environmental Education at NCF,Mrs. Abidemi Balogun stressed the need for everyone to imbibe the culture of sanitation, saying that a clean environment is critical to ensuring healthy living.
She said, “We are doing community cleanup at Sari Iganmu.This is an initiative of Oando Foundation being implemented by the Nigerian Conservation Foundation. Nigerian Conservation Foundation is an environmental NGO in Nigeria. Cleanliness as we all know is next to godliness. We are encouraging everyone to make sure that their environment is clean. It is for their own interest and environmental wellbeing”.
The cleanup exercise conducted at Fassy Adesina Street and its environs in Sari Iganmu, saw participants clearing blocked drains and weeping the surroundings, while the Lagos Waste Management Agency, LAWMA, was on ground with their truck to evacuate gathered wastes.
Some community people including their leaders took active part in the initiative as they used public address system to sensitize their people to come out and do the needful.
Mrs. Balogun explained that the choice of Fassy Adesina street and its environs was based on the decision the Metropolitan Primary School, Orile one of the schools in Lagos state captured in the “Clean Our World” intervention effort by Oando Foundation.
In her words, “The choice of this area is because Oando Foundation has adopted Metropolitan Primary School and we have been doing a lot of interventions in the school.
“They are bringing this environmental component of it to the benefit of the host community. Metropolitan primary school is in the community and the school closed the area”, stated Abidemi.
On his part,the Head teacher of the school, Mr. Abiodun Julius Idowu thanked the sponsors of the initiative, saying it could not have come at a better time than now when the rains were expected to be heavier.
Mr. Idowu who called on other organizations to borrow a leaf from the gesture, also reiterated the need for mass adoption of waste to wealth initiatives, to ensure efficiency in waste management efforts.
“It is the concern of Sumitomo Chemical through Oando Foundation that all the streets that are dirty are cleaned. So they gave that assignment to the head teacher and the school management committee. We came to the community, we looked at all the streets . We now considered this street as the dirtiest street, that is why we selected this Fassy Adesina Street in Orile, Apapa Iganmu local government area.
“The government supposed to be praising Oando Foundation. I know there are many organizations that are trying to ensure that Lagos state is clean, if what Oando Foundation is doing to ensure that all these wastes are turned into wealth is adopted by organisations, our environment would be clean. If they can emulate Oando Foundation, it would be better”.
Speaking on behalf of his people, a community leader , Alhaji Saka Owolabi lauded the intervention in their area, and at the same time called on the authorities to provide effective drainage facilities for them.
” We are happy for what we are seeing. They are helping us to clean our place. Today is environmental day, our people are still at home, so they come out and clean their surroundings. We thank them. God bless them”
Volunteers in the cleanup exercise wore crested vests bearing an inscription, “Earth Hero, Clean our World”.
Participants included community leaders, residents, NCF and Oando Foundation officials and pupils of Metropolitan Primary School, Orile.