We cannot over emphasise how much dirty environments can affect our health. Is it the greenhouse gases that waste emits to heat up the atmosphere? Or the illnesses that can be contracted from dirty places?
Have you heard of this new initiative called Pick That Thrash. It is joining in the campaign towards a cleaner environment in Nigeria known for not being so hygienic.
Here’s a bit about why they do what they do, as shared in their concept notes:
Basic cleanliness practices in any society are now empirically correlated to sustainable development.
Climate change is rapidly being mainstreamed into the way development is done, economies are governed, businesses are run; communities, households and individuals live. Countries and their citizens are therefore hurriedly adapting attitudes, policies, institutions and investments appropriately to respond to climate change and the broader sustainable environment agenda.
An aspect of environmental and climate change problem that receives scant attention is how individuals, households, people, businesses and governments generate and treat solid and organic wastes. Sanitation or waste management is hardly ever considered a serious policy issue in many countries especially among less developed economies where poor governance is also significant. The priority accorded waste management varies across countries even in Africa where some like Rwanda and Morocco are cited in global rankings of “clean cities”. Unfortunately, Nigeria is one of the countries with the worst records of waste management or mismanagement.
Premises, neighbourhoods, streets, roads and highways where solid or organic wastes are poorly handled soon become the weakest link in environmental health.
The cost to people, businesses and governments are often severe. The costs of degrading our environment through indiscriminate dumping of trash for example, range from health risks and infrastructural decay to inability to attract investments to such destinations. In recent times, the embarrassing flood of solid wastes in major cities and neighbourhoods in Nigeria illustrated the worst images of these risks.
We as a people are already collectively suffering severe consequences for relegating issues of sanitation to the lowest priority of government, businesses and citizens.
A fact not well appreciated by our three levels of government is that waste management is a core part of delivery of basic services that responsible governments provide at the local administration level with the support of the state and national levels. Therefore, while it is true that governments require cooperation and collaboration of the people including the business sector to establish and execute an effective waste management system, it has the principal responsibility to deliver it as a basic service.
Part of vision includes: Being lovers of clean environment and unrepentant #TrashHaters mobilizing every Nigerian to #PickThatTrash as a #MindsetChange in our homes, offices, neighbourhoods, communities, and states for a #CleanNigeria.
Rationale of Citizens Campaign “#PickThatTrash”.
The poor governance of the environment – in this case, solid or organic waste- by governments at all levels notwithstanding, a more troubling issue is the indifference of citizens at individual and household levels to the problem. Oftentimes even when Governments initiate policies aimed at improved living conditions through the delivery of a basic service like waste management, citizens are not aware, actively engaged nor demanding of performance and accountability. Such indifference and lethargy by those for whom Governance is provided weakens the results delivered because citizens unwittingly incentivize a culture of unaccountability and hence poor performance.