In a bid to promote plastic waste management in Nigeria, the Coca-Cola System, comprising Coca-Cola Nigeria and Nigerian Bottling Company, recently teamed up with local NGO, African Cleanup Initiative (ACI), on a clean-up outreach at Alpha Beach, a popular beach located in the heart of Lagos, Nigeria.
As part of efforts to address the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 6 which focuses on clean water and sanitation for all, this cleanup outreach was organised under the system’s Employee Volunteer Scheme to drive action on this goal while bringing together interested stakeholders across the surrounding community.
Once known for its clean and picturesque landscape, the beach located in the Lekki area of Lagos State has in recent years been subject to an eroding culture of poor waste management with a lack of consideration to eco-friendly practices.
Speaking on this clean-up outreach, Nwamaka Onyemelukwe, Director, Public Affairs, Communications and Sustainability, Coca-Cola Nigeria, said, “Our beaches represent cultural landmarks that allow families to come together and share life’s most enjoyable moments. Just as we hope to create those magical moments for our consumers through our diverse product offerings, we are also passionate about facilitating the protection of these landmarks that are dear to her hearts. Through our employee volunteer efforts, we hope to contribute to ensuring the wellbeing of our communities while simultaneously promoting sustainable development in Nigeria”.
Also speaking on this exercise, the Public Affairs and Communications Director, Nigerian Bottling Company, Ekuma Eze, remarked, “Polluted beaches pose a threat not only to marine ecology, but they also constitute a major challenge to coastal economies, communities, and human health. Over the last decade, growing concerns around the environment such as climate change, global warming, drought, and food crisis have made this even more urgent. As a System, we are committed to collaborating with our stakeholders to preserve our coastlines while driving environmentally sustainable initiatives that support our 2025 Sustainable Commitments”.
Alexander Akhigbe, Founder/CEO, African Cleanup Initiative (ACI), added: “Our objective is to continue raising awareness and enlightening communities about the global plastic waste problem. We must do what we can in our pocket of the world to make the country we live in more environmentally sustainable”.
The African Clean-up Initiative (ACI) is a non-governmental organisation that has been promoting communal cleanup and sensitization projects since 2012. Some of their major activities revolve around environmental sanitation, environmental education/advocacy, and community development. In 2019, the NGO launched the RecyclesPay Project which allowed parents to cover a portion of their children’s school fees by collecting and turning in plastic waste to recyclers. The project was later bolstered by a grant from The Coca-Cola Foundation in 2020, as part of the company’s efforts to promote environmental sustainability.
Through its World Without Waste program, the Coca-Cola System has so far collected over one billion PET bottles in Nigeria. The system is also committed to its global goal which is to make all consumer packaging 100% recyclable by 2025, and to enhance the collection of all packaging material by 2030.