NGO, Environmental Health Officials clean up Ikeja drain channels against flood

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By Okuanwan Offiong

Lagos, Oct. 3, 2020 More than 100 female officers of the Environmental Health Officers of Nigeria (EHOAN), Lagos State, partnered with the NGO, African Clean-up Initiative (ACI), on Saturday, to sensitise and clean up drainages in Ikeja, Lagos, to avoid flooding.

Newsmen reports that the clean-up exercise, organised by the women’s wing of the EHOAN, is the maiden edition.

The Chairperson of the group, Mrs Aramide Pedro, who led the officers on the mission, said the exercise became timely due to the expected flood, as projected by meteorologists and the state government.

The state government has been warning of the impending flood, saying it will be more than usual this year.

She said even the little flood being experienced has caused flash floods, affecting lives and properties in the state.

“Our aim is to carry out cleaning activities in gutters and drainages at some major drains channels in Ikeja and its environs.

“The NGOs’ main job is to assist us pick up the recyclable materials within Ikeja and its environs, and to encourage people to sort their waste at home.

“We still advocate that people should stop patronising cart pushers and imbibe the culture to sort out recyclable waste product.”

Pedro, elated by the turnout of ACI volunteers during the exercise, said Lagosians could achieve a clean environment if mobilised.

She called on residents of Ikeja to key into the Lagos state government’s initiative against cart pushers to prevent drainages and channels from being blocked.

The ACI Chief Environmental Officer, Mr Alex Akhigbe, said that a clean environment had numerous health benefits.

Akhigbe said the organisation was bent on sensitising people on the need to keep the environment clean and to encourage recycling, especially items that cause blocked drains such as plastic bottles, cans and plastics.

“We are working on how to stop flooding by keeping away those recyclable items that block the drainages, such as the PET bottles, cans, “pure” water sachets; and this is why we are partnering with the health officers in charge of our environment.

“Amongst several projects we have done are the recycles pay, where plastic bottles are exchanged for money with which school fees can be paid, especially at the low-income areas.

“We also give out diapers and pads in exchange for bottles, cans, water sachets. This is designed to help those mothers who cannot afford diapers for their babies, and women who cannot afford to buy sanitary pads.

“We are always out to ensure we get as much as many bottles and other recycles, to assist the less privilege in our society,’’ he said .

Ahkigbe, however, called for more engagements at the local level and the community development associations which are the major players.

“We need to engage more people from the local level, they need to be motivated and encouraged to sort their waste and get involved in recycling to earn a living.”

Also speaking at the occasion, the Ikeja Local Government Chairman, Mr Mojeed Balogun, applauded female officers of EHO for embarking on such timely programme and creating awareness on the preventive measure of flooding.

Balogun said “by coming together to create awareness, the officers had embarked on a good initiative, especially to the female folks and traders around Ikeja axis.

The Chairman said the exercise showed the ability of women to find time out of official time to clean up the environment and speak to people on how to avoid flood, especially during the rainy season.

“It is a good campaign for the officers to come together to create awareness and educate the people in the community.

“It is their duty to ensure that people do the right thing and adhere to the rules of the state, especially during this COVID-19 period,’’ Balogun said.

NAN reports that about 20 bags of items were collected during the exercise for recycling.

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