UNIBEN launches Green Campus Project

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The Management of the University of Benin (UNIBEN), in partnership with Natural Eco Capital and SWEEP Foundation, on Thursday inaugurated the green campus project to facilitate the recovery of used plastic bottles in the school environment.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the project is being funded by the Coca Cola Foundation.

Inaugurating the project, the Vice Chancellor, Prof. Lilian Salami, stated that the project was a campus recycling initiative aimed at tackling the menace of poor waste management through plastic recovery from the school environment.

Salami, represented by Prof. Abigail Imasuen, the immediate past Head of Department of Animal and Environmental Biology Department, said the project would ensure installation of bin receptacles in strategy locations in the campus.

Speaking at the event, Ifeoma Okoye, the Corporate Affairs and Community Partnership Manager, Nigerian Bottling Company (NBC) and Representative of Coca-cola foundation, said the negative impact of plastics on the environment informed the foundation’s support for the project.

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Okoye noted that Understanding proper waste disposal was key to having a clear environment, adding that the Coca-cola foundation decided to partner with SWEEP foundation, Natural Eco Capital and UNIBEN to make the project a reality.

She disclosed that the project had already taken place in about four schools, saying that UNIBEN was the fifth.

“We have done quite a lot in the country. We have over 70 plastic collection centres and have collected about 44 million kilogrammes of plastics which can be translated into about two billion unit of plastics

“So, realizing that we need to do more is the purpose of this partnership. This project is in two parts, one is to understand the Eco system and how to manage plastics around our environment.

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“And the second is the model where we look at the socioeconomic empowerment for the youths by creating more Jobs and providing opportunities for our youths to learn.

“As a system, in 2012, the NBC and Coca-cola foundation were the pioneer founding members of an association known as food and beverages cycling alliance,

“Currently, we have about 26 member private companies in that alliance.

“The reason for the alliance is because we know the impact of plastics in our environment and removing them from the environment is not something that can be done alone,” Okoye said.

Also, Dr Eugene Itua, CEO, Sustainability Expert, Natural Eco Capital, said the project at UNIBEN became imperative given that plastic waste in higher institutions had become problematic.

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He explained that to address these challenges, university campuses would need a comprehensive recyclable waste management programmes like the Green Campus Project to create awareness and tackle the menace of plastic waste.

Earlier in her welcome address, Prof. Catherine Ukponmwan, Deputy Vice Chancellor, Administration, thanked the project partners, saying the Green Campus Project seeks to establish sustainable waste disposal system on campus.

Ukponmwan, who is also the chairman, Public Private Partnership (PPP), UNIBEN, was represented by Prof. Nelson Ojukwu-Ogba, the Director of  PPP, UNIBEN.

Ukponmwan, however, noted that the project would provide sustainable livelihood opportunities for students and youth resident around the Campus

In her remarks, the Project Manager, Circular Economy, Mrs Edith Iyalomhe, said all the project partners would meet regularly to review the progress of the Green Campus Project in the university.

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