Lagos State First Lady, Dr. (Mrs.) Ibijoke Sanwo-Olu has joined the advocacy for environmental sustainability with a call on residents of the State to embrace the “Sanwo Switch to Gas” project initiated by Lagos State Environmental Protection Agency (LASEPA), for a safer and healthier Lagos environment.
She made the call recently at the launch of “Sanwo Switch To Gas” project (SS2G) organised by LASEPA, at Elegbata Sports Complex, Lagos Island, stating that the SS2G is part of the ‘Trash for Cash’ initiative of LASEPA where residents are rewarded with Cash, Food Produce, Health Insurance Card, Cowry Card and Gas Cylinder by the government in exchange for plastic wastes, unserviceable and abandoned electrical appliances, used or black oil, among others.
The First Lady said that she was delighted to identify with the Lagos State Environmental Protection Agency (LASEPA) for the flag off of the “Sanwo Switch To Gas” project at Lagos Island, adding that the initiative is in line with the commitment of the administration of Governor Babajide Olusola Sanwo-Olu to ensure sustainable management of the environment.
The Governor’s wife made reference to a study carried out by the World Bank in 2021, where it was revealed that air pollution was empirically adjudged to be responsible for most premature deaths annually with children below the age of Five as the most demographically affected.
She informed that Lagos State, as a coastal city, is especially impacted by various human-based activities and a growing population estimated to hit 40 million residents by 2050, stressing that the development and challenge of ensuring the fair and judicious use of the environment for all, amidst multi-level bottlenecks are of critical concern to the state government.
Sanwo-Olu explained that the SS2G Project is specifically targeted at ensuring emissions from various cooking and other solid and fossil fuels dependent processes are reduced and phased out where reasonably practicable, whilst returning value to the pockets of residents and improving the overall quality of life.
The First Lady commended LASEPA and its partners for the initiative and other various pilot projects carried out in line with the noble objective of protecting the environment, including waste for LPG (Gas) cylinders, waste for cash, waste for free health insurance, waste for free public transport, and waste for food schemes, and others, revealing that these initiatives are positively impacting the environment.
She, however, enjoined all Lagosians to support the “Sanwo Switch To Gas” Project and see the call to join the fight to safeguard the environment as a collective duty and a responsibility owed to future generations.
Also speaking, the Commissioner for the Environment and Water Resources, Mr. Tunji Bello, said that the Lagos State government is proud to introduce to the Lagos Island Community an inclusive approach and intervention mechanism to the various environmental issues.
The Commissioner represented by the Permanent Secretary, Office of Environment, Ministry of Environment and Water Resources, Dr. Omobolaji GAJI, disclosed that “Sanwo Switch To Gas” initiative cuts across the 57 LGAs/LCDAs of Lagos State, having been implemented in areas like Itedo Community in Lekki Phase I; Ibeshe, an Island of Oriade LCDA and Ikorodu Town in the year 2022.
The General Manager of LASEPA, Dr. Dolapo Fasawe said that the idea of “Sanwo Switch To Gas” was informed by the need to take decisive and deliberate plans for the health of Lagosians and the environment.
She pleaded with participants at the event to cultivate the habit of reusing non-degradable plastics and proper management of waste, saying that somebody’s waste is another person’s raw material.
Fasawe stated that the concept and implementation of a circular economy are now being advocated globally due to the ongoing environmental infractions caused by improper handling and disposal of various wastes, including plastics, waste oil & oily waste, waste electrical & electronic equipment and trade effluent amongst others.
The General Manager added that the circular economy also showcases the clear tenets of waste to wealth as a socio-economic pollution control mechanism, which can stimulate business growth with huge economic potential from unwanted items or trade effluent, similar to the “Sanwo Switch To Gas” project being championed by LASEPA.
The high point of the event was the presentation of BRT Cowry Cards, Free Health Insurance Cards, Money, Rechargeable Lamps, Raw Food Items and Gas Cylinders to some beneficiaries by the Lagos State First Lady, assisted by Dr. Fasawe and top government officials at the event.