The Embassy of Sweden in Nigeria says awareness creation on issues about climate change remains a top priority, to proffer solutions to the global environmental problem in the country.
The Swedish Ambassador to Nigeria, Carl Michael Gräns, said this in Abuja on Saturday, while addressing newsmen at the sideline of activities to mark the 2021 “World Cleanup Day” themed: “Plogging”.
The event was organised in partnership with PickThatTrash, Green with Grin, Rotaract, Rees Africa and GirlUp Nigeria, Eco Green Africa, C- Circle Research supported by the Federal Ministry of Environment.
According to him, waste mismanagement is not uncommon, not only in Nigeria but in different parts of the world, including Sweden.
Gräns said, “Plogging is a new Swedish word merged from two Swedish verbs, “plocka upp” to refer to “pick up” and “jogga” meaning “jog” at the same time.
“It is a movement all over the world, to exercise and to pack the trash in the environment: this has become important because the environment is one of the main challenges of our time.
“The environment is where we are, but at the same time the change of climate goes together, so raising awareness about the issue is one of the top priorities of the Swedish embassy.
“This is an international challenge and we have to find a global solution to it; we all know the urgency of these, as we have the UN report to see that some climatic changes are not hard to stop.
“We cannot go back to what we had 50 years ago, we cannot still stop these developments from running fast and we have to stick to the Paris Agreement to be able to do this.”
He noted that in spite of the scourge of COVID-19 pandemic, there is the need to adapt to the agreement as a platform to proffer a lasting green solution to environmental challenges.
Swedish Ambassador to Nigeria, Carl Michael Gräns with others at the pick up the trash exercise on Saturday in Abuja
Also speaking at the event, Uwak Ekanem, the Co-Founder of Abuja Run Club, commended the Plogging initiative, which he said was apt in helping people keep fit and maintain environmental hygiene.
“We have always liked to give back to the society, we felt this is a good time to give back to our environment and as well, pick up trash where people normally use all the time, particularly for sports.
“We thought trash there was not much, but what was collated here proved we can do so much; if we want change, we want change where we use all the time.
“It is up to Nigerians to pick up non-disposable products, like plastics and polythene bags for recycling,” Ekanem said.
The event attracted 150 people to jog and pick up trash around the main bowl of the Moshood Abiola National Stadium Abuja, where 51 trash bags were collected, 14 bags containing plastics and trash cans were handed to Mission Zero Plastic to be recycled.
In the same vein, the Swedish Embassy partners, Plogging Nigeria, also hosted similar events in 14 other locations in Borno, Imo, Oyo, Kwara, Lagos, Kaduna, Osun, Enugu Ondo States and others.
World Cleanup Day aims to raise awareness about these issues and to mobilise all spheres of society to participate in environmental cleanup actions.