Sterling Bank, Leads the Charge Against Plastic Pollution 

Sterling Bank in collaboration with other stakeholders, has mobilised volunteers to clean and restore Elegushi Beach in Lagos to its pristine state to commemorate World Environment Day. 

The annual event, led by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), and observed globally every June 5th, creates awareness, and evokes action to protect the environment. 

The 2023 World Environment Day theme is ‘Solutions to Plastic Pollution’ with the hashtag #BeatPlasticPollution. 

Speaking at the beach cleaning exercise held in Lagos at the weekend, the Chief Executive Officer of Sterling Bank, Abubakar Suleiman, said: “Plastic pollution severely threatens our environment, ecosystems, and the well-being of present and future generations.” 

According to him, it is up to individuals to make bold, decisive decisions and work towards a sustainable future. 

He emphasised that Nigeria must prioritise awareness to ensure that every community understands the impact of plastic waste and is empowered to make sustainable choices. He urged Nigerians to commit to reducing, reusing, and recycling plastic materials. 

He noted that over the past 14 years, Sterling Bank has partnered with the Lagos State government to clean up the environment, saying that “we started with people who are on the street by supporting them. Our most recent initiative encourages people to view plastic as a resource that can be turned into cash.” 

Olapeju Ibekwe, Chief Executive Officer of Sterling One Foundation, added, “We are commemorating both World Environment Day and World Oceans Day because we have realised that plastic has become a menace to our environment, health, and the sustainability of the earth.” 

She said reducing plastic pollution is something that the Foundation has always prioritized. “We prioritise climate action and one of the ways we ensure that is by executing beach adoptions as part of our programming. 

“Today we are commemorating it with our partners, and we are picking plastic from the oceanfront to ensure that this plastic does not get into our oceans and be part of the plastic that they say will be more than fish in the oceans by 2050 based on reports.” 

She went on to say that the Foundation conducts beach adoptions to sensitise the community and raise awareness of the need to be intentional about ensuring that plastic is not viewed as waste, but as a resource that can be recycled and used to create jobs and even reduce poverty. 

She stated that plastic pollution is a major environmental issue, claiming that millions of tonnes of plastic waste end up in oceans, landfills, and waterways each year. “The waste has the potential to harm wildlife, pollute air and water, and contribute to environmental hazards,” she said. 

The Chief Scientist Officer of the Ministry of Environment and Water Resources, Bolaji Osinowo, spoke on behalf of the permanent secretary of the Ministry of Environment and Water Resources, saying that the 2023 edition of World Environment Day’s focus on combating plastic pollution is timely, as that type of pollution is a major challenge to the global economy and the environment. 

According to him, at least 400 million metric tonnes of plastic waste are produced each year, with half of this going unused and ending up in the environment as waste. 

He said, “We should go for the policy of the Lagos State government on plastic waste: ‘reduce, reuse, and recycle’, and by so doing, this will help to reduce the volume of plastic waste that we generate, and we should reuse them instead of going for single-use plastic.”