Since the United Nations (UN) set aside the 17th of September to be celebrated annually as World Cleanup Day in 2018, it has been marked with activities to raise awareness about the waste crisis pervading the world.
Concerted efforts on tackling this issue have seen the movement bring together millions of volunteers, governments, and organizations across various countries, to participate in cleanup actions as one of the many ways to build a new and sustainable waste-free world.
This global movement has moved beyond just picking up litter, to a point where citizens are conscious of keeping their environment clean by disposing of PET waste properly.
Poor waste disposal has been identified as one of the major environmental problems confronting developing nations. Experts posit that if lack of efficient waste management goes on unabated it will constitute a harmful risk to citizens’ health, drainage, environment, society, and economy.
To tackle this menace, the Coca-Cola system in Nigeria, alongside its philanthropic arm, The Coca-Cola Foundation, have been championing recycling knowledge and awareness around effective waste management, how to create wealth from waste, and safe living conditions for Nigerians.
According to Nwamaka Onyemelukwe, Director of Public Affairs, Communications and Sustainability, Coca-Cola Nigeria Limited, the organization has pledged its commitment to waste recovery and therefore organizes signature interventions ranging from volunteer cleanup exercises to waste management interventions across Nigeria.
“There is a clear gap in the area of sustainable infrastructure and effective waste management. This is why Coca-Cola Nigeria continues to form partnerships with various stakeholders like civil societies, the Recyclers Association of Nigeria, customers and government agencies -to build effective and innovative waste management infrastructures that contribute to sustainable waste management”, Nwamaka noted.
“In executing interventions, we have over the years, supported and funded NGOs such as the Growing Businesses Foundation, Nigeria Climate Innovation Center, FABE International Foundation, African Clean Up Initiative, Mental and Environmental Development Initiative for Children (MEDIC), Statewide Waste and Environmental Education Foundation (SWEEP), Platform for Society Support Initiative, Aid for Rural Education Access Initiative (AREAi), Do Good Social Impact Foundation, WASTE AFRICA, and RecyclePoints Foundation—to bridge the gap in waste management, especially through advocacy campaigns and providing recycling infrastructure closer to households in remote communities. “This means penetrating specific communities to raise awareness of waste management and recycling to drive home the social and even economic benefits available to us all,” she explained.