“Those who store, package, and sell the food we serve our families have a responsibility to maintain basic standards of cleanliness in their facilities.” ~ Loretta Lynch. 

This was the message we brought to the sellers, buyers and commuters at Oniru Market at the just concluded cleanliness drive where we cleaned up the drainages along New Market Road on 25th June 2022.

With the usual rowdiness of the market and uncertain weather condition, the participants who had come from different locations in Lagos State located the cleanup meeting point with cheers as they mingled with known and unknown friends for networking opportunities, while registration sheets were shared for participants to pen down their names. Engaging pictures were taken followed by a brief speech and grouping by Mrs Blessing Onyelekwe, Communications and Partnership Manager at the African Cleanup Initiative. 

The participants present were divided into four groups – Green Stars, Eco-Warriors, Change Agents, and Impact Makers as they were assigned different locations along New Market Road to clean. This grouping is to propel teamwork, ensure we cover strategic areas along the road at ease and aid in achieving the intended goal of the project faster. 

The various teams spurred into action by cleaning the road and drainages, and at the end of the cleanup exercise which lasted for two hours, the first group (Green Stars) recovered 156.4kg of solid waste & 14.9kg of recyclables, second group (Eco-warriors) recovered 84kg of solid waste & 2.5kg of recyclables, the third group (Change Agents) recovered 155.7kg of solid waste & 15.6kg of recyclables and the fourth group (Impact Makers) recovered 42kg of solid waste & 15.5kg of recyclables. In total, we recovered 438.1kg of solid waste and 48.5kg of recyclables.

Our goal to sanitize and advocate was achieved as commuters, buyers and sellers become aware of the importance of a clean environment, recycling and its benefit to them and their households. A total of 43 volunteers participated in the cleanup exercise and 8,507 people were reached directly and indirectly through advocacy.

A 30 minutes sensitization talk in the community and brief interviews with community members were carried out, of which they all appreciated the initiative and were elated as they testified that this exercise is the first to have ever happened in the community. This was preceded by games and other fun activities. The participants appreciated the certificates and thanked the partners for hosting this event and for the great work that was done.

This project was initiated by Tech Mahindra on behalf of MTN Nigeria and was proudly implemented by African Cleanup Initiative.

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