With Nigeria reported to generate some 32 million tonnes of waste per year, of which 2.5 million tonnes is plastic waste, the country has always had a worrisome waste problem. This developing issue is further exacerbated by the country’s disposal, recycling and waste management system which has proven to be inefficient in dealing with both plastic and non-plastic waste, most of which end up in landfills, sewers, beaches and water bodies.
Developing a sense of obligation to support the government in clearing the coastlines and shorelines of plastic waste, Coca-Cola has implemented numerous environmental sustainability initiatives, the most notable being the Recycling Scheme for Women and Youth Empowerment (RESWAYE), implemented by local NGO, Mental and Environmental Development Initiative for Children (MEDIC).
The project, launched in 2019 and just concluded in May 2021, has recorded incredible feats 18 months later, with impressive impact figures recorded across the key stress areas it was devised to solve.
Over 159,000kg Of Plastic Waste Retrieved: Our Oceans Are Cleaner Than Ever
Targeting over 16 coastal communities in Ibeju-Lekki, the RESWAYE project ensured the removal of a staggering 159,791kg of plastic waste from coastlines and shorelines. This number accurately translates to an impressive 159 tonnes – tangibly mitigating the problems caused by ocean debris and dangers inflicted on marine life as a result of plastic pollution. For fun comparisons, that number is just over the weight of an adult blue whale!
Over 2000 Women And Youths Empowered
The latest data released on unemployment in Nigeria by the National Bureau of Statistics indicated that women ranked the highest when it comes to unemployment. The report showed that 12.2 million females were unemployed as against 9.5 million men. Similarly, the number of females underemployed was highest with 11.9 million while 10.9 million males were reported to be underemployed. These statistics are only a microcosm of a much larger problem which is the growing marginalisation of women in the workforce and the lack of opportunities to emancipate themselves from poverty through honest living. Through the RESWAYE project, a total of 1,920 women were empowered economically as they cleaned the beaches and turned in plastic waste for decent money.
Feeding The Young: Over 5,000 Plates Served To Children Within Target Communities
Asides from featuring an education drive, a medical outreach and a financial empowerment program, the RESWAYE project also featured a feeding programme for children with just over 5,000 plates of food distributed to kids within the target communities. The closures mandated by the government in a bid to curb the spread of COVID-19 worsened the economic capacity of many vulnerable communities, which in turn affected residents’ capacity to feed adequately to meet the nutritional needs of children.
Over 13,000 Beneficiaries: The Sum Of RESWAYE’s Parts
In addition to the aforementioned impact figures, the RESWAYE project also recorded other key wins with 24 local communities, 107 schools, 2,124 households, and 11 clinics, and over 10,000 beneficiaries impacted positively by the initiative. The sum of these key wins culminate in over 13,000 people benefitting from the initiative.
With these impressive numbers, the RESWAYE project brings Coca-Cola a step closer to its “World Without Waste” initiative as the company seeks to help collect and recycle a bottle or can for every one sold by 2030.