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UNILAG Kickstarts Environmental Sustainability Challenge, Canvasses Adoption of Circular Economy Approach

The widely publicised UNILAG Environmental Sustainability Challenge & Recycling Bazar kicked off on Thursday, March 23, 2023 at the Tayo Aderinokun Hall with an Official Opening Ceremony.

Well-attended, the event was graced by hundreds of students and staff of the University of Lagos who found an outlet to express their love for the environment.

The Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Management Services), Professor Lucian Chukwu, represented the Vice-Chancellor at the event. He commended the organisers of the programme for coming up with the idea and for demonstrating that the Future-Ready vision of the Vice-Chancellor for the University of Lagos is a very feasible one.

Keynote Speaker, Professor Lucian Chukwu

Professor Chukwu, who also doubled as the Keynote Speaker, enlightened the audience about the role of plastic in the socio-economic development of human societies, and its impact on the environment.

“Though it has become a menace, plastic is what our society will still require at every point of social and economic development. Taking our campus for example, given its location beside the Lagos Lagoon, socio-economic activities herein have major impacts on the coastal environment.”

“Nigeria ranks high among countries with the highest volume of estimated mass of mismanaged plastic waste. That reality is a threat to human and environmental well-being. The way out for our country is to adopt the Circular Economy approach.”

He enumerated and explained the benefit of plastics, underscoring it as a by-product of crude oil which has many important uses. He also counterbalanced his argument for plastic usage by sharing, with the audience, the challenges that unfettered use and disposal of plastics pose to human and environmental health.

The Professor of Marine Biology defined Circular Economy “as a paradigm shift from Waste Management to Resource Management”.  He further described it as “an economic model that aims to minimise waste, promote resource efficiency, and create sustainable value”.

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President of the Lagos Recyclers Association, Dr. Femi Idowu-Adegoke

He encouraged members of the University Community to participate fully in the UNILAG Environmental Sustainability Challenge, being mindful of the fact that they are contributing their own quota to Nigeria becoming a Green Economy. President of the Lagos Recyclers Association, Dr. Femi Idowu-Adegoke, was also on hand to give a presentation on “Uncovering the Opportunities in Recycling Using Innovation and Entrepreneurial Skills”. He shared little-known opportunities that exist in the recycling space in Nigeria, and encouraged students to deploy their entrepreneurial skills in exploiting them.

In his words: “The entrepreneurial approach to waste sees it as a recyclable resource, and not as an environmental menace. There are immense opportunities in the Recycling Space that you can take advantage of, even while still a student”.

The Project Lead of the Challenge, Dr. Abdulganiyu Adelopo

The Project Lead of the Sustainability Challenge, Dr. Abdulganiyu Adelopo, gave the audience a refresher address on the reason for the Challenge. He reiterated the focus of the project to mobilise community members to track, collect, and recycle 1.5 million Plastic Bottles and Cans on campus; to create empowerment opportunities for students by their participation in several points of the value chain of waste-to-wealth recycling; and to strengthen the University of Lagos’ global ranking in Environmental Sustainability.

The day rounded off with an Exhibition of Recycled Products at the Foyer of J.F. Ade-Ajayi Auditorium.

The three-day event continues on Friday, March 24 with a programme on Internship Opportunities Discovery and Networking with Value Chain Companies at the J.F. Ade-Ajayi Auditorium. On Saturday, March 25, 2023 a campus-wide Clean-Up exercise and Street Show.

To get more information about the UNLAG Sustainability Challenge, please click: https://unilag.edu.ng/?p=19617

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