By Oluwatobi Omosalewa Fademi
The wife of the Ondo State Governor, Mrs. Betty Anyanwu-Akeredolu today joined millions of others across the globe to mark this year’s World Environment Day just as she commissioned a Borehole and 8-block toilet facility presented to Ilu Abo High School, Ilu Abo by the Betty Anyanwu-Akeredolu Foundation (BAAF).
At the event which was put together by BAAF in conjunction with the Ondo State Ministry of Environment, Mrs. Akeredolu noted that the school is indeed lucky to have been chosen as a pilot school for a water, sanitation and hygiene intervention programme out of 1,445 public schools in the state.
Speaking on this year’s theme tagged “Beat Plastic Pollution”, Arabirin Akeredolu lauded the selfless efforts of Corper Chidi Nkwocha, a vibrant young man who while serving at Ilu Abo High School came up with the initiative.
While also exploring the significance of the day’s celebration, the First Lady further observed that the World Environment Day which was established by the UN General Assembly in 1972 remains a principal vehicles through which awareness is created as plastic pollution has become one of the most recurrent environmental problems being faced today.
Mrs. Akeredolu who also stressed that Ondo State has had its fair share of the impact of plastic pollution, quoted the United Nation’s prediction that by the year 2050, there will be more plastic than fish in the ocean, thus the need to take steps to address the growing trend.
Some of the recommendations put forward by the wife of the Ondo State Governor include the need to raise awareness on effective waste management while also paying special attention to proper sorting of waste before disposal.
Others include the need to maintain healthy sanitation and hygiene, discourage the consumption of single-use item and also have one standard and functional recycling plant in every state of the federation.
Mrs. Akeredolu while commissioning the project charged the students and the school management to maintain the facility as it is citizen driven.
“This project is citizen driven, therefore, the community must also play their own role. I hope this will also send a positive message to other communities that this is how community progresses. You must claim it before people come in to put in their best. Sanitation and hygiene are vital for child’s health, education, nutrition and even economic development of the nation”, she added as she expressed satisfaction at the end of open defecation in the school.
Earlier, in his welcome address, the State Commissioner for Environment, Hon. Funsho Esan emphasized the importance of the environment noting that his administration will work towards ensuring that Ondo State leaves its present position which is 29th in terms of sanitation.
Hon. Esan also used the opportunity to thank BAAF for the initiative while promising to provide the needed support.
In his goodwill message, High Chief Dimeji Bankole, also expressed gratitude at the gesture while also thanking Corper Chidi for facilitating the initiative. He then conferred the title ‘Akorewolu of Ilu Abo’ on the Corper.
Speaking on behalf of UNICEF, Mrs.Foluke Ogunyemi stressed the significance of the gesture noting that it will go a long way in helping the girls have some privacy.
While affirming that UNICEF as an organization is committed to ensuring that all other schools in the state gets such facility, she promised UNICEF’s support for such initiative.
Highpoint of the event was the lecture delivered by Prof. Olumekun at a grand reception held at the Babafunke Ajasin hall in Akure where he stressed the need to get rid of bottle water and disconnects from such conveniences.
Prof. Olumekun who came up with a ‘5R’ acronym which stands for, Refuse, Reconnect, Reduce, Re-use and Recycle’ affirmed the need to find alternative to use of plastics as it is daily becoming dangerous to human health.
The event had in attendance, the Secretary to the State Government, Hon. Ifedayo Abegunde, Special Adviser to the Governor on Education, Dr. Mrs. Wumi Ilawole, the Deji of Akure kingdom, Oba Aladetoyinbo Ogunlade, Odundun II, among other top dignitaries.