By; JACOB ONJEWU DICKSON
Nigerians have been admonished to treat environmental hazards as their personal problems and not just issues of the government or to be solved by the government alone while also activating the office of the citizen by participating in Community Service and Development as a way of expressing their civic responsibilities.
The wakeup call was given by Wonne Afronelly, convener and Initiator MyEnvironment MyWealth, a Port Harcourt-based environmental advocacy group at the Port Harcourt International Coastal Cleanup event which was held in commemoration of International Coastal Cleanup, World Cleanup Day and International Day of Peace at The Port Harcourt Tourist Beach, Borikiri Port Harcourt on Saturday September 21, 2019.
The event themed “Climate Action For Peace” was in collaboration with Young Professionals and Port Harcourt Waste Recycling Initiative and is the 8th edition after the first Port Harcourt Tourist Beach cleanup in 2013.
While speaking on the success of the event and its impact on the society, Wonne said “environmental sensitization events held by myEnvironment myWealth and Beach cleanup (the organizers) over the years at the same location have made more impact and more people now know about the Tourist Beach that is literally abandoned by the government.”
Furthermore, she said “participants were very excited, and grateful to have been part of the laudable project. They also thanked the organizers. This year we decided to accept collaboration from interested organizations, and we were able to make more impact.
Highlighting the challenges faced during the beach cleanup and trash evacuation, she said “we had to accommodate more partners close to the end of the project planning and this did not allow for adequate meetings to align project objectives.
“Also, most participating volunteers who have never been part of the beach cleanup were easily distracted as they were seen strolling around, taking pictures to the displeasure of some other volunteers and their actions affected proper input of data in the ocean conservancy data cards.
“A total of 123 trash bags were collected, recorded according to trash type and weighed, she concluded.
In her own remarks, Christabel Altraide, co-convener of the Port Harcourt International Coastal Cleanup and founder Port Harcourt Waste Recycling Initiative said that “teamwork made the event possible and this is the time to partnership for the goals.”
Commenting on why her organization supported and partnered the event, Marie-Hélène Predhom, Director Alliance Francaise Port Harcourt, said “at Alliance Francaise, we spread environmental awareness as much as we do entertainment, culture, music.
“The idea is always to show something different from people and we supported the clean up day organized by MyEmyWealth because we are a strong supporter of cleaner environment and it is important for everybody and the future generations to be sensitized and that we do our part in keeping the environment safe.”
The event which was graced by at least 208 persons including children, youths, women, men and some foreigners featured activities such as radio talk, verdant road show and climate sensitization walk, Cleanup exercise, yoga on the beach, #ClimateSitOut, Boat Cruise, GreenGames, Comedy, Music, etc.
Speakers at the program were Olowu Seyi Ransom, Founder Future Savers Nigeria, Lagos who moderated the #ClimateSitOut and Water pollution segment, Adindu Kingsley from SustyVibes who talked on Sustainability and Afronelly reemphasized common plastic types and effects of plastic pollution.
Participants at the program learnt how to host events and refreshments were served in environmentally friendly items such as water being served in paper cups, finger foods and rice in paper plates and aluminum spoons replaced plastic wears.
The program was supported by Radio Rivers, Garden City Radio, PickThatTrash Initiative, RIVProw, ThrowayNg Omicron Waste Environmental, Alliance Francaise Port Harcourt and powered by Bliss Octanoprise International.