BusinessDay

Coca-Cola, others mobilize Elegushi Beach cleanup to mark World Environment Day

To mark World Environment Day, Coca-Cola System, which consists of Coca-Cola Nigeria, Nigerian Bottling Company (NBC), and Chi Limited, has cleaned up Elegushi Beach in collaboration with the Mental and Environmental Development Initiative for Children (MEDIC).

The cleanup is to empower young people and women in the coastal community through recycling in addition to achieving seven of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of the United Nations, with a focus on clean water and sanitation for all.

Along with the beach clean-up, a recycling bank was established as a legacy project to empower the Elegushi community’s women and youth, who may now deposit their recyclables to earn a reward or money. The Coca-Cola system now sponsors 21 recycling banks across various communities, bringing the total to 21.

By 2030, The Coca-Cola Company hopes to collect and recycle the equivalent of one bottle or can for every one it sells, this was stated in 2018.

According to Patricia Obozuwa, vice president, Africa operating unit, Coca – Cola the beach cleanup supported Jamii, a recently launched sustainability platform for all of Africa. Jamii focuses on waste management, water stewardship, and wealth creation for women and youth with the aim of encouraging a better-shared future for communities and the planet while minimizing human activity’s negative effects on the environment.

The beach cleanup, according to Obozuwa, was also in support of its recently launched Africa-wide sustainability platform, Jamii, which focuses on waste management, water stewardship and wealth creation for women and youth, with the goal of promoting a better-shared future for communities and the planet while minimizing the impact of man’s activities on the environment. Our focus on water to support the planet would be incomplete unless we clean up our beaches which have a direct path to the ocean,” she remarked.

“Families converge at beaches to create magical moments, and the continued deterioration of our beaches with waste materials proves a continued challenge which we must all come together to tackle,” Obozuwa added.

In addition, Olajide emphasized that the company intends to help ensure the wellness of host communities while also promoting sustainable development in the nation through employee volunteer actions that fall under the “Jamii Deeds” pillar of our Jamii sustainability platform.

“Cleaning the beaches and extracting as much waste material as we can, continues to drive our World Without Waste agenda through which we have collected over one billion PET bottles already. It is also part of our commitment to our global goal to make all consumer packaging 100 per cent recyclable by 2025 and to enable 100 percent collection of all packaging material by 2030”, Olajide said.

Ekuma Eze, Managing Director of Nigerian Bottling Company, who was represented by Matthieu Seguin, Corporate Affairs & Sustainability Director stated that the cleanup effort was described as an extension of the System’s resolve to make the right decisions with consideration to the communities, and as leading manufacturers, it recognizes its obligation to contribute towards ensuring a safer and healthier environment and preserving the future for the generations to come.

“The ocean is the largest life-sustaining resource on earth, and we all have a responsibility to preserve it. Humans rely on the ocean for food and transport, and it regulates our climate and is home to an abundance of biodiversity. This is why environmental sustainability has continued to be a part of our growth strategy which is further encapsulated in our World Without Waste agenda. Our vision as a System is a world where plastic does not become waste, and this requires very urgent action and collaboration.”

Present at the event were; Ibrahim Odumboni, Managing Director, Lagos Waste Management Authority (LAWMA),; Dolapo Fasewe, general manager, Lagos State Environmental Protection Agency (LASEPA), represented by Micheal Bankole Ministry of Environment, Doyinsola Ogunye, founder, Recycling Scheme for Women and Youth Empowerment (RESWAYE), amongst many others.

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Odumboni stated that there is a constant need to capture plastic waste so that it does not overwhelm and represent harm to the ecosystem. He also praised the practice and emphasised that a value chain on plastic and trash management has been developed with assistance from waste management companies, food and beverage organizations, and recycling partners.

According to Bankole, the Ministry of Environment emphasized on creating and implementing environmental and water rules to promote a clean and sustainable environment is consistent with this advocacy. To achieve circularity in Lagos State, he asked for increased stakeholder collaboration.

Doyinsola Ogunye, founder of RESWAYE and Mental and Environmental Development for Children (MEDIC), thanked everyone in attendance for taking time out of their busy schedules to come to help clean up the beach and emphasized the significance of protecting the environment and waterways as well as reducing, reusing, and recycling plastic waste for long-term sustainability on both an economic and environmental level.

Following the cleanup exercise, which included key stakeholders as well as notable environmentalists and partners, a total of 248.68kg of waste was recovered.

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