Each time I see a fellow Nigerian throw a biscuit wrap, an emptied plastic bottle, banana peels, or corncobs out of a moving car or while trekking on the sidewalks, my heart breaks, literally. The ease at which Nigerians litter the public with consumed products is an attitude that should be checked.
I have a belief that every trash on the road has a story. The icecream sachet by the curb was thrown by a careless Nigerian in a commuter bus after consumption, and was made to travel long distances by winds generated by speedy cars. This icecream sachet by the curb is very close to a drainage inlet, and with a little push it gets into the drains to join thousands of its brothers.
In Nigeria, we see all too often the havoc trash-choked drainages cause. When heavy rain falls, the drainage gets full because the system is choked with trash. In the Island region of Lagos, for example, flooding is observed every so often because the drains are chocked up.
The problem isn’t more so the drainage designs than it is the attitude Nigerians have with trash. Although some ingenious social enterprises in Nigeria that recycle waste have sprung up, like Wecyclers and RecyclePoints amid others, the core problem is still left unsolved.
Nigerians are not aware of what littering does to the environment. That is why Nigerians carelessly throw trash out their cars and houses. There is also this myopic mentality of ‘my biscuit wrap or plastic bottle is just one trash and how much damage can one trash cause?’.
To help solve this problem, what I will do, what anyone passionate about improving the environment can do is partner with LAWMA (Lagos State Waste Management Authority) and the Federal Government on an aggressive Awareness Campaign against littering. The public must be educated on the environmental hazards littering cause.
I will work with graphic designers who will design creative stickers and posters that will be pasted everywhere as not enough are out there. I will partner with TV stations, radio stations, and newspapers to run soul-searching anti-littering awareness campaigns. It is not enough to just write ‘PLEASE DO NOT LITTER’ as this message has become rather cliché. I and my social network of creative writers will come together to piece words that pierce the heart of Nigerians in hope that the Nigerian will think twice before throwing trash out of vehicles and houses.