In commemoration of World Cleanup Day, The Coca-Cola System, comprising Coca-Cola Nigeria Limited and Nigerian Bottling Company (NBC), recently partnered with RecyclePoints to facilitate clean-up activities in streets and community markets across Lagos, Asaba, Kaduna, Owerri, and Abuja. A total of 557 kilograms of plastic waste was recovered.
This outreach sought to sensitize and educate market women on how a waste-free environment can foster better customer interactions and increasing sales. The group also enlightened residents on the environmental and financial benefits of waste pick-up and recycling in their various communities.
Speaking on this campaign, Nwamaka Onyemelukwe, Director, Public Affairs, Communications and Sustainability, Coca-Cola Nigeria, said: “Our goal is to contribute our quota to an integral part of the food ecosystem that interacts directly with the consumers, providing them with the information they need and lending a hand of support. At Coca-Cola, we are driven by a need to develop and empower the communities that we serve, and we are also committed to promoting sustainable development in Nigeria”.
World Cleanup Day is an annual global action program aimed at combating the global solid waste problem and uniting a strong and unique network of doers who share the vision of a waste-free world. The 2021 theme, ‘There Is No Planet B’, ties into the report by The United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, highlighting the devastating effects of climate change on the environment and calling for united efforts to restore the Earth’s ecosystem.
This same urgency is shared by Coca-Cola as is evident in the company’s belief in a World Without Waste, an ambitious environmental vision that has, so far, ensured the collection of over 1.5bn plastic bottles in Nigeria alone.
Ekuma Eze, Public Affairs and Communications Director of Nigerian Bottling Company, explained: “As a system, we embarked on this campaign not only to draw attention to the immense opportunities in community recycling programs, but also to raise public awareness on the threat of waste and pollution to human life and the survival of our ecosystem. These are major priorities for us, as this year marks the beginning of the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration and an opportunity for us to advance our World Without Waste agenda”.
Mazi Ukonu, Founder/CEO, RecyclePoints, added: “The consensus is that marketplaces are by nature quite chaotic with practices that are harmful to the ecosystem, but we believe that with education and support, we can make both the sellers and the customers understand the importance of a neat location for business transactions, especially one that has to do with the food we eat. This will ultimately cascade down to ensuring gutters and drainages aren’t clogged and that they all engage in eco-friendly practices”.
In February 2021, Coca-Cola, through its philanthropic arm, The Coca-Cola Foundation, awarded N303m in grants to eight local NGOs in Nigeria, and so far, these NGOs have made great strides in pioneering several community-based programs with significant impact numbers already recorded.