By Chinenye Anuforo
In commemoration of International Youth Day (IYD), Coca-Cola Company, Coca-Cola Foundation (TCCF), and its NGO partner, SWEEP Foundation sensitized youth on environmental sustainability through a plastic waste pick-up rally in Surulere, Lagos.
The International Youth Day is a day founded by the United Nations to bring youth issues to the attention of the international community and to celebrate the potential of youth as partners in today’s global society. This year’s theme titled, “Transforming Food Systems: Youth Innovation for Human and Planetary Health”, emphasizes that the success of such a global effort will not be achieved without the meaningful participation of young people.
Other crucial challenges the celebration seeks to address include poverty reduction; social inclusion; health care; biodiversity conservation; and climate change mitigation – all driven by youth.
Through its key sustainability pillars – especially Waste and Wellbeing – Coca-Cola Nigeria has implemented and supported various impactful youth-oriented programmes that focus on financial inclusion, youth empowerment, education/sensitisation, and eco-friendly practices.
Speaking on the International Youth Day activities, Nwamaka Onyemelukwe, Director, Public Affairs, Communications and Sustainability, Coca-Cola Nigeria, said:
“It’s been a challenging year so far. We’ve seen the negative impacts of COVID-19 globally, food shortages in the country and floods due to a global environmental crisis. However, it’s great to see the Nigerian youth persevere despite uncertainties. This inspires Coca-Cola to continue in its efforts to contribute to youth development through programmes that drive behavioural change, improves basic and technical skills while ensuring their wellbeing and protecting the environment”.
Obuesi Phillips, founder of SWEEP Foundation, lauded the financial support from TCCF, emphasising the importance of youth participating in eco-friendly practices at the height of climate change. He said, “We are delighted to be celebrating the International Youth Day through a plastic pick-up rally. At SWEEP Foundation, we are propelled to passionately pursue environmental sustainability. This effort to keep our immediate environment free of recyclable waste is in line with the objectives of a World Without Waste, an initiative of The Coca-Cola Company that was launched in 2018”.
Intending to recover three tons of plastic waste from the environment, SWEEP Foundation’s “Surulere Pick Up Rally”, supported by Coca-Cola, drew a crowd of over 70 community members, including Hon. Yinka Jonathan, Supervisor for Environment, Surulere LGA and Mr Wemimo Odumosu Chairman, Community Development Committee, Surulere LGA.