By ‘Seyifunmi Adebote
Some members of the Abuja Pick That Trash movement (Trash Haters, as they are called) recently met with the initiator, Oby Ezekwesili in Abuja to discuss ways of furthering the cause of achieving a cleaner Nigeria and changing the mindset of people towards environmental sanitation and waste management.
According to the former Minister of Education and World Bank’s Vice President: “I had just returned from a visit to Morocco; unlike previous trips where I had to reside in the city, on this particular trip, I spent most of the time in suburbs and one thing struck me. The same cleanliness I saw in the cities was in the villages also. I became curious and started asking questions: ‘How are these people able to do this?’ The response I go was shocking. I was told that some years ago, the King of Morocco was appalled by people’s indiscriminate waste disposal and how it was a menace to the environment; so, he gave an instruction that no one must litter the streets of Morocco. Over the years, the people of Morocco have grown with that mindset and they have been able to keep their communities spotless – both in the rural and urban areas.
“That was a challenge for me. I thought the same is possible in Nigeria too. When I came back in July 2017, I shared my thoughts on Twitter and asked passionately ‘Will you now join me to Pick That Trash?’ and the overwhelming response and energy of young folks led to the birth of Pick That Trash.”
From a single tweet with many retweets, Pick That Trash has become an initiative with active members across the length and breadth of Nigeria, all united to advocate for a clean Nigeria and change the mindset of people towards waste disposal and management. This they have been able to achieve through constant location clean up events, community sensitization and innovative social media drive.
Seyifunmi Adebote, an environmentalist and media consultant writes from Abuja, Nigeria.