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Environmental Volunteering: Activists gather in Lagos ahead of World Earth Day

Volunteers from Sustyvibes, a Non-profit organization, pick up trash on a street near a market ahead of World Earth Day, in Lagos, Nigeria, April 20, 2024.   -  
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Sunday Alamba/Copyright 2024 The AP. All rights reserved


Dozens of volunteers gathered in Lagos on Saturday (Apr. 20) ahead of the 2024 World Earth Day.

SustyVibes, a local environmental advocacy group, led volunteers to a market to pick up plastic dumped on the street and clear the gutters.

World Earth Day is observed annually on the 22nd of April, but the entire month of is often called Earth Month.

“We don’t have to wait for days like the World Earth Day for us to become more conscious of our environment," activist Sonia Ugwunna said.

"This planet is all we have and if we don’t put our hands together for us to ensure a sustainable future, no one else will.”

World Earth Day serves as a call to action for individuals, governments, businesses, and civil society to work together towards a greener and more sustainable world.

“Why it seems as if most people don’t seem to care about the environment is because sometimes the effects, the harmful effects on the environment are not so tangible until they become large scale."

"For you to see the effects of your actions on the environment, it has to become large scale. For example, we didn’t know anything was wrong until we started seeing the effect of the change in climate,” Ugwunna added.

Volunteers at Saturday's event were divided into teams including, one devoted to dvocacy, another to cleanup and one advertizing recycling subscriptions. The teams visited different communities.

“If the government can be proactive. We are all humans, and we can be careless with disposing of waste, but if the government can have environmental officers everywhere to arrest offenders,” trader Abiodun Ogunsanya said.

It is estimated that Nigeria produces more than 2 million tonnes of plastic waste a year when a country like France produces over 4 million tonnes [Editor's note: according to 2016 figures by WWF].

However, Africa's most populous country faces significant challenges with waste management due to a lack of infrastructure, a trained workforce, and other related factors, according to the West Africa Coastal areas management program.

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