Tuesday, May 21, 2019 1:01 pm
By Daniels Ekugo
Lagos residents have continued to throng the Lagos sewage treatment plant at Amuwo Odofin to exchange used plastic bottles for cash, being part of Ecobank’s campaign to rid the environment of non-biodegradable materials. In marking its 2019 Sustainability Week, Ecobank Nigeria had asked residents of Lagos State to submit used plastic materials like soft drink and water bottles to designated collection points to exchange them for cash. The locations include Ecobnak branches in Ikorodu, Ojuelegba, Ketu, Allen, Ahmadu Bello Way on Victoria Island and the Lagos sewage treatment plant in Amuwo Odofin. The campaign is expected to run between Friday 17 May through Friday 24 May.
Kick starting the week long campaign code-named “Get cash for plastic bottles’ at the Lagos sewage treatment plant on Friday, Managing Director, Ecobank Nigeria, Patrick Akinwuntan, said the initiative is part of a deliberate policy of the bank to support environmental sustainability for all.
“Our sustainability activities is part of the universal call to action to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure that all people enjoy peace and prosperity. The idea for this is to support the removal of non-biodegradable materials from the environment to support healthy and safe living. Our target is to remove at least four million used plastic bottles from the streets and drains of Lagos through this initiative” he noted.
Further, Mr Akinwuntan said the bank is collaborating with the Lagos State Ministry of Environment and Alkem Nigeria Limited, a waste recycling firm to remove at least 4 million bottles constituting menace to the environment within a week. “Plastic waste is seriously affecting our food, oceans, harming marine life and threatening our food chain. As a responsible corporate organization, we will do all it takes to check the trend to ensure a safer living environment. This is an opportunity for Lagosians to make money by taking used plastics to any of our collection centres in exchange for cash.”
Commending Ecobank, Assistant Director, Ministry of Environment, Lagos State, Lasisi Adedoyin, observed that the initiative would go a long way to improving the environment. While explaining the various efforts of Lagos state government to ensure a safer environment, he urged other corporate organizations to emulate Ecobank. He further called on residents to avail themselves the opportunities provided by the bank and its partners to earn quick cash through collection of used plastics.
Speaking in the same light, General Manager, Alkem Nigeria Ltd, Mr Piyush Mishra, said the partnership with Ecobank would lead to a safer environment. He explained that plastic bottles was impacting negatively on the environment.
During its 2019 Sustainability week, Ecobank organised a symposium for selected secondary school students in Lagos, Abuja and Port-Harcourt with a view to teaching the students and young people lifestyle that exemplifies and encourages environmental sustainability.
It would be recalled that Ecobank’s sustainability efforts had been commended and rewarded by stakeholders including the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN. For instance, during the CBN annual awards for sustainability in 2018, Ecobank was recognised in four categories which included: Sustainability Bank of the Year; Sustainability Bank of the Year -oil and gas; Sustainability Bank of the Year -power sector and the Women Empowerment category – the bank was first runners up in all four categories.
The CBN Sustainability Awards – a part of the Nigerian Sustainable Banking Principle (NSBP), initiated in 2012, is an award that appreciates the efforts of financial service providers who have been able to successfully integrate social and environmental considerations into their operations, spanning across their processes and strategies.