Dr (Mrs) Ibijoke Sanwo-Olu, the first lady of Lagos State, has thrown her weight behind the fight for environmental sustainability by urging residents to support the “Sanwo Switch to Gas” project started by the Lagos State Environmental Protection Agency (LASEPA) for a safer and healthier Lagos environment.
She made the announcement recently at the “Sanwo Switch To Gas” project (SS2G) launch, hosted by LASEPA at Elegbata Sports Complex, Lagos Island, stating that the SS2G is a part of the “Trash for Cash” initiative of LASEPA, where residents are given cash rewards, food produce, health insurance cards, cowry cards, and gas cylinders by the government in exchange for plastic wastes, broken and abandoned electrical appliances, used or black oil, among other things.
The first lady expressed her joy at working with the Lagos State Environmental Protection Agency (LASEPA) to launch the “Sanwo Switch To Gas” project on Lagos Island and noted that the initiative was in line with the keeping of the administration of Governor Babajide Olusola Sanwo-Olu’s commitment to ensuring sustainable management of the environment.
The Governor’s wife cited a World Bank report from 2021 that said air pollution was scientifically shown to be the leading cause of preventable deaths each year, with children under the age of five being the most disproportionately impacted group.
“Lagos State, being a coastal city, is particularly impacted by various human-based activities and a growing population expected to reach 40 million by 2050, which highlights the difficulty in ensuring the fair and responsible use of the environment for all, in the face of multiple bottlenecks.
“The SS2G Project aims to ensure that emissions from different cooking and other solid and fossil fuel-dependent operations are decreased and phased out when practically possible, while also putting money back into people’ pockets and enhancing their quality of life overall,” she said.
The First Lady further praised LASEPA and its collaborators for the initiative as well as other diverse pilot projects carried out in line with the noble goal 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, among others, revealing that these initiatives are having a positive impact on the environment.
She urged all Lagosians to embrace The “Sanwo Switch To Gas” Project and appealed to join the struggle to protect the environment as a communal obligation and a responsibility due to future generations.
“The Lagos State government is happy to bring to the Lagos Island Community an inclusive strategy and intervention mechanism to the numerous environmental concerns,” said Mr Tunji Bello, the commissioner for the environment and water resources, who also spoke.
The “Sanwo Switch To Gas” initiative spans the 57 LGAs/LCDAs of Lagos State, according to the Commissioner who was represented by the Permanent Secretary, Office of Environment, Ministry of Environment and Water Resources, Dr. Omobolaji GAJI. It has already been implemented in places like Itedo Community in Lekki Phase I, Ibeshe, an Island of Oriade LCDA, and Ikorodu Town in 2022.
According to Dr Dolapo Fasawe, General Manager of LASEPA, the concept of “Sanwo Switch To Gas” was inspired by the need to make thoughtful and decisive strategies for the environment and the health of Lagosians.
She begged attendees to develop the practice of recycling non-biodegradable plastics and to manage garbage properly, stating that one person’s trash is another person’s raw material.
“Due to the ongoing environmental violations brought on by improper handling and disposal of various wastes, including plastics, waste oil and oily waste, waste electrical and electronic equipment, and trade effluent among others, the concept and implementation of a circular economy are now being promoted globally.
“The circular economy also demonstrates the clear tenets of waste to wealth as a socio-economic pollution control mechanism, which can stimulate business growth with enormous economic potential from surplus goods or trade effluent, similar to the “Sanwo Switch To Gas” project being promoted by LASEPA,” Fasawe claimed.