• Thursday, July 18, 2024
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Lagos First Lady advocates for cleaner, safer environment

Lagos First Lady advocates for cleaner, safer environment

Lagos State First Lady, Ibijoke Sanwo-Olu has appealed to Lagosians to embrace the ‘Sanwo Switch To Gas’ (SS2G) project for a safer and healthier state environment.

Ibijoke Sanwo-Olu made the call at the launch of ‘Sanwo Switch To Gas Project’ organised by the Lagos State Environmental Protection Agency (LASEPA) at Elegbata Sports Complex, Lagos Island.

The SS2G is part of the ‘trash for cash’ initiative from LASEPA where residents get cash, food produce, health insurance, cowry card and gas cylinder from the government in exchange for plastic wastes, unserviceable and abandoned electrical appliances, used or black oil, among others.

The first lady who said that she was delighted to identify with the Lagos State Environmental Protection Agency (LASEPA) for the flag off of the ‘Sanwo Switch To Gas Project’ at Lagos Island, explained that the initiative was in line with the commitment of the administration of Babajide Olusola Sanwo-Olu to ensure sustainable management of the environment.

According to her, “This project, which is an offshoot of the Eko Clean Air Initiative was launched in 2022 to encourage an attitudinal change and promote a paradigm shift from wood and kerosene stoves to cleaner and more sustainable energy for improved air quality in Lagos State, thereby making a measurable impact in Climate Change.

“As a medical doctor, I have an appreciable knowledge of the nexus between health and the environment. This is why the second pillar of the THEMES agenda is focused on health and environment.”

The governor’s wife made reference to a study carried out by the World Bank in 2021, where it was revealed that air pollution was empirically adjudged to be responsible for most premature deaths annually with children below the age of 5 as the most demographically affected.

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She however, informed that Lagos State, as a coastal city, is especially impacted by various human-based activities and a growing population estimated to hit 40 million residents by 2050, adding that the development and challenge of ensuring the fair and judicious use of the environment for all, amidst multi-level bottlenecks are of critical concern to the state government.

She further explained that the SS2G project is specifically targeted at ensuring emissions from various cooking and other solid and fossil fuels dependent processes are reduced and phased out where reasonably practicable, whilst returning value to the pockets of residents and improving the overall quality of life.

On the other hand, the first lady, commended LASEPA and its partners for this initiative and other various pilot projects carried out in line with the noble objective of protecting the environment, including waste for LPG (Gas) cylinders, waste for cash, waste for free health insurance, waste for free public transport, and waste for food schemes, and others, revealing that these initiatives is positively impacting the environment.

She therefore, enjoined all Lagosians to support the ‘Sanwo Switch To Gas’ project and see the call to join the fight to safeguard the environment as a collective duty and a responsibility owed to future generations.

Tunji Bello, commissioner for the Environment and Water Resources, said that the Lagos State government is proud to introduce to the Lagos Island Community an inclusive approach and intervention mechanism to the various myriads environmental issues.

“This programme is put together to further reward those who embrace circular and sustainable processes in their everyday activity, and provide cleaner alternative for cooking as against the use of firewood, charcoal and kerosene stoves.

“Also, to reiterate the ban on open air burning amongst others, we therefore, encourage appropriate handling of various domestic, commercial and industrial wastes through the newly introduced incentivised initiatives ‘Eko Clean Air’ and ‘Trash for Cash.’

The Commissioner represented by the Permanent Secretary, Office of Environment, Ministry of Environment and Water Resources, Omobolaji Gaji, disclosed that ‘Sanwo Switch To Gas’ initiative cuts across the 57 Local Government Areas/Local Council Development Areas of Lagos state, having been implemented in areas like Itedo Community in Lekki Phase 1; Ibeshe, an Island of Oriade Local Council Development Area and Ikorodu town in the year 2022.

Dolapo Fasawe, general manager of LASEPA, said that the idea of ‘Sanwo Switch To Gas’ was informed by the need to take decisive and deliberate plans about the health of Lagosians and the environment.

Fasawe pleaded with participants at the event to cultivate the habit of re-using non-degradable plastics and proper management of wastes, and added that somebody’s waste is another person’s raw material.

He further said that the concept and implementation of a circular economy is now being advocated globally due to the ongoing environmental infractions caused by improper handling and disposal of various wastes, including plastics, oil and oily waste, electrical and electronic equipment waste, trade effluent, amongst others.

Yinka Opeke, chief executive officer of Smart Gas, lauded LASEPA for the initiative, adding that it would go a long way in improving the quality of the life of Lagos residents.