March 3, 2024

Members of the Young African Leaders Initiative Oyo State (YALI Oyo) trooped out on the 16th of September 2023, to commemorate the World Cleanup Day. The event, which held on the University of Ibadan (UI) campus was spearheaded by RecycleEdge, a leading recycling company in the state. The theme of this year’s edition is “Let’s Do It World”, and members of various youth organizations within the state came together to make a monumental statement about keeping a healthy environment, proper waste disposal and adequate recycling.

Plastic pollution, is one of the biggest environmental problems the world faces today. Globally, almost 400 million tonnes of plastic wastes are generated every year, according to Statista. United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP) estimates that 2,000 waste trucks of plastic materials are dumped into the world’s waterbodies every day.

Thus, the World Cleanup Day demonstrated YALI Oyo’s commitment to creating a sustainable environment, while combining forces with other SDGs-oriented, eco-friendly and youth-based organizations like Junior Chamber International Nigeria, University of Ibadan Chapter (JCIN UI) and Students Union, UI.

“PICK-A-THON: UI Mega Cleanup” saw the participation of over 250 volunteers, eco advocates, environmental sustainability experts and students of higher institutions of learning. Participants started arriving the convergence point, UI Car Park, as early as 6:45a.m., dressed in their jeans, t-shirts and sneakers.

Although there was a heavy downpour that threatened to disrupt the cleanup process, the commitment of participants was stronger. The exercise commenced with a morning fitness regimen to keep everyone physically and mentally alert.

After the fitness exercise, representatives of RecycleEdge arranged an orientation session for those around. In the words of the facilitator, the primary aim of the event is to contribute to a cleaner campus; however, the bigger goal is to build a cleaner, healthier world from the grassroot level, while demonstrating our responsibility to a sustainable planet.

Participants were divided into groups and assigned to different sections of the campus community. A Team Leader was appointed to coordinate the movement and activities of each group.

Every participant was armed with cleanup kits and tools to make the cleaning process simpler and less stressful. It was exciting, seeing people from all walks of life loosening up and laughing heartily as they interacted with other eco ambassadors.

Passers-by were also encouraged to seize the occasion of the World Cleanup Day to remove dirt around their spaces, and commit to recycling them for a greener, cleaner planet. This exercise helped to foster teamwork, proper communication, interpersonal skills, and networking amongst participating youths.

At the end of the cleaning exercise, participants gathered at the Kunle Adepeju (Students Union) Building with their plastic-filled nylons. The amount of waste recovered by each group was weighed and recorded. The team with the highest amount of recovered PET bottles was celebrated and awarded.

Some individuals were also given cash for the trash collected to encourage waste aggregation and recycling. Coca Cola, Cardify, John Vents, and Malaria Watch were among the sponsors of the event. Dignitaries present include Registrar of the University of Ibadan – Mr. G. O. Saliu, UI Students Union President – Samson Tobiloba, Green Campus Ambassador – Olawuyi Abiola, Oyo State YALI Coordinator – Michael Adebisi, amongst others.

The YALI Network which has over 640,000 members and counting is a vibrant online community where young African leaders can learn how to effect change around important issues in their communities and improve their leadership skills through tailor-made online content, and physical networking sessions at state hubs.

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Written by:
Grant Entrepreneur & Opportunity Expert;
For YALI Oyo State Chapter

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