United Nations Information Centre Lagos in collaboration with an NGO – The Nigerian Environmental Society (NES) Lagos Chapter, marked World Environmental Day 2013 on Friday 07 June at a market in Mushin Local Government area of Lagos called ‘Daleko’.
The event which was based on the theme for this year’s celebration: “Think Eat. Save. Reduce your Foodprint” was attended by over 250 participants including the market women and men of the market, Mushin Local Government Officials, Environment Staff of the Local Government (LAWMA), NGOs and Media organizations.
The Local Government Environment Officials, who had been contacted earlier about the programme, had mobilized the market women and men so they could participate in the programme. The market women and men leaders were already seated waiting for our arrival at the venue. They were all uniformly dressed.
As speeches were being delivered in the English language, they were also being translated to the local language –‘ Yoruba’ for the benefit of the non-literate amongst the market women and men.
Participants were welcomed to the event by the Vice Chairman of Mushin Local Government who laid emphasis on food conservation and sustainability in his address. He said ‘This event is a clarion call for all Nigerians to address the challenge of food waste. Rather than eat beyond what is needed for healthy growth, the excess should be given to those who do not have to eat so that they would not wake up and go to bed with empty stomach.’
Thereafter the UN Secretary- General’s message was read by UNIC’s Officer-in-charge, Mrs. Olajumoke Araba.
The Nigerian Environmental Society (NES) Vice-Chairman – Mr. Eugene Itua, delivered the keynote address laying emphasis on the theme of the event. He emphasised his concern over how many homes in Nigeria waste food. He said that the amount of waste generated through Rice was too much, saying that was why the Daleko Market (majorly rice merchants) was picked to celebrate the World Environment Day.
Dr. Adeniyi Sanyanolu also from NES delivered the main paper for the event titled “Preservation and Risk of food waste”. As he was addressing majorly market women and men who are not all literate, he spoke mainly in the Yoruba language which was understood by majority of the participants. In his speech, he implored the market women and men to store raw food materials like grains properly especially during the rainy season. As raw food gets spoilt when soaked by flood waters to avoid waste and such items should not be sold to the public. He said “The environment is our common patrimony and as such, we all (irrespective of our vocation or calling) must jointly endeavour to preserve its sanctity for the generations yet unborn”. And also , good quality food taken in moderation guarantees good health. In addition, an environment messed up with garbage (remnant food inclusive) is a sure breeding ground for all manner of disease vector and pathogens”
There were some goodwill messages from the Market men and Women. One of the Market women responded by appreciating UNIC and NES for bringing the programme to their market out of all the markets in Lagos. She said they understood very well the message of food loss and waste. This she said they would practise not only in the market but in their various homes as well.
Fliers titled “Some food waste facts “were shared to all participants and throughout the market to those who did not attend the event.
This event was aired on Radio 96.5FM same day, on Television stations like – Channels TV, Silverbird TV (STV) and Lagos TV (LTV). It was also published by the following newspapers – The Guardian, The Nation and ThisDay.