By Chioma Obinna
As part of its efforts to preserve the environment for sustainable living and stimulate plastic waste management in Nigeria, the Coca-Cola System has called on Nigerians to protect the environment and oceans by not allowing plastic wastes to overrun them.
Meanwhile, the Coca-Cola System comprising Coca-Cola Nigeria, Nigerian Bottling Company, NBC, and Chi Limited through its Employee Volunteer Scheme known as “JAMII DEEDS” recently undertook a clean-up of the Elegushi Beach, in partnership with the Mental and Environmental Development Initiative for Children, MEDIC. Coca-Cola, which celebrated 70 years in Nigeria, also launched a recycling bank at the beach.
Officials told Vanguard at the cleanup exercise, that aside from addressing seven of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, SDGs, with a focus on clean water and sanitation for all, the ocean is the largest life-sustaining resource on earth, hence, the society has the responsibility to preserve it.
They further explained that the cleanup exercise was also to empower youths and women in the coastal community through recycling.
Addition of a recycling bank was also to empower the women and youths of Elegushi community who can now deposit their recyclables to earn a reward or cash. With the launch, the company now has a total of 21 recycling banks across various communities.
The Vice President, Public Affairs, Communications & Sustainability, Africa Operating Unit, the Coca-Cola Company, Patricia Obozuwa said the beach cleanup 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 aimed at promoting a better-shared future for communities and the planet while minimising the impact of man’s activities on the environment.
Obozuwa said the focus on water to support the planet would be incomplete unless they clean up the beaches that have a direct path to the ocean.
On his part, the Managing Director, Coca-Cola Nigeria, Alfred Olajide highlighted that through the employee volunteer efforts which sit under the “Jamii Deeds” pillar of our Jamii sustainability platform, the company hopes to contribute to ensuring the wellbeing of host communities while simultaneously upholding sustainable development in the country.
“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 per cent collection of all packaging material by 2030.”
Speaking, Managing Director, Nigerian Bottling Company, Matthieu Seguin, represented by the Corporate Affairs & Sustainability Director, Ekuma Eze, described the cleanup exercise, as an extension of the System’s resolve to make the right decisions with consideration to the communities we serve. “Humans rely on the ocean for food and transport, and it regulates our climate and is home to an abundance of biodiversity. Our vision as a System is a world where plastic does not become waste, and this requires very urgent action and collaboration.”
Speaking, the Lagos State Environmental Protection Agency, LASEPA, Dr. Dolapo Fasewe, Dr. Fasawe, expressed joy that plastic management and environmental sustainability organisers, stakeholders, and volunteers came out in force to accomplish what they often want people to do.
Dalopo suggested that the beach cleanup be expanded beyond cleaning the beach and carried to markets, rural regions, parks, and other locations to educate people about the need to properly dispose of plastic.
The Managing Director, Lagos Waste Management Authority, LAWMA, Ibrahim Odumboni described the exercise as laudable, stressing the need to intercept plastic waste so that it does not outnumber us and pose a threat to our environment.