Environmental pollution has become one of those national issues people have come to live in Nigeria. A tourist would be surprised at how comfortable people live in polluted, water contaminated, refuse-dumped environments with overflowing and open drainage systems.

Environmental health-related risks are becoming a primary concern in Nigeria, with diverse environmental problems such as air pollution, water pollution, oil spillage, deforestation, desertification, erosion, and flooding (due to inadequate drainage systems) caused mostly by anthropogenic activities. 

According to the world health data report, most of Nigeria’s highest-ranked causes of Death and Disability-adjusted Life Years (DALYs) are environmental risk factors. The predominant causes of death associated with environmental risk factors include chronic respiratory diseases, cardiovascular diseases, diarrheal diseases, lower respiratory infection, enteric infections, communicable, maternal, neonatal, and nutritional diseases, which has resulted in about 800 000 deaths and 26 million people living with DALYs in Nigeria per annum.

Nwankwo Emeka Johnson saw the dismal effect of environmental pollution in his community and decided to do something about it.

Johnson is a Graphic designer, HSE Officer, Humanitarian, Recycler, Drug prevention and Social Media Influencer. He is also an SDG Advocate passionate about curbing climate change damages. Johnson is the founder of the Center for Sustainable Development Initiative, a Communication and social media volunteer for Youth Alliance for Leadership and Development in Africa, the Country Coordinator for Global Aid for Africa, the Lead Awareness Champion of Nigeria Youth SDGs for Rivers State, and Global Peace and TeachSDGs Ambassador. A graduate of Computer Education from Chukwuemeka Odimegwu Ojukwu University, Johnson is the ICT Executive for Rugged Steps Foundation for African Youth Development, Our Lady of Perpetual Help Initiative, Executive Director Connecting Peace Initiative, Media and Publicity officer for Tranquil Youth Organization of Nigeria, Captain and a Champion for United People Global. 

As a humanitarian that cares about climate change and street children advocating for their rights, Johnson organised embarked on a Clean Up Project under the aegis of DO-Take Action to educate youngsters on the benefits of a healthy environment.

He launched the project under the Environment And Global Climate Change program. The project was carried out at Azubike Ogbojiagu and Aleppo communities in Rivers State, and it entailed the following activities;

  • A presentation to sensitise the youths about the benefits of waste removal from public areas and how this act can reduce risks to overall health while also decreasing the public’s exposure to biohazards and reducing infestations of pests.
  • Clean-up exercise that comprises picking dirt and nylons, cleaning of drainages etc.
  • Bagging of all the dirt separately in different trash bags for nylons, plastics and cans
  • Climate strike on the 24th of September 2021.
  • Sensitisation campaign on the dangers of climate change at Mile 1 market 

In the course of the project, a minimum of 30 participants was sensitised on the need to clean public spaces, which have evolved to become an eyesore, i.e. public waste sites, dirty gutters etc., 70% of participants commit to ensuring that waste disposal is properly managed within their community. The participants scored above average in the Clean Up Project test and pledged to advocate for the Clean Up Project within their community. Also, 50 trash bags were distributed to participants to bag their refuse for collection by the Rivers State Waste Management Agency. Over 20 beneficiaries joined the project and pledged to be environmental activists, while 10 participants were recruited into GDC to organise a Clean Up Project outreach in their community.

Emeka Johnson strives for a world where children and young people have a voice and reach their full potentials as bright scholars, healthy individuals and future leaders in society. 

What do you strive for in your community?

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