By Gbenga Onabanjo
Neighbourhood pollution comes in various forms: unkempt frontages and gutters, cigarette butts on streets, unswept roads, overgrown weeds at front yards and setbacks, pure water sachets and wraps blowing by, unpatched potholes on roads, dustbins without covers and a whole load of other unsanitary habits.
A few adjustments of our attitudes can make a lot of difference. I encourage you to carry out some of the following suggestions or initiatives. These will make your neighbourhood cleaner, healthier, nicer and pollution-free for everyone.
WALK YOUR TALK
The most important thing you can do leading to a crusade for a clean environment is for you to walk your talk. Set a litter-free example for others. Do not throw pure water sachets or cigarette butts around. Pick up after your dog. If you see any litter flying around, pick it up.
TIE YOUR TRASH BAG
Avoid putting your trash directly in your dustbin. Put it in a bag first and tie it. If you have garden waste, do the same. Secure your dustbin lids. This prevents stray pieces of trash from falling out and blowing around your neighbourhood. It also helps to prevent rats and rodents from rummaging through and thus reducing the risk of infestations of Lassa fever or other diseases transmitted by rats.
Be ready to volunteer your time for the community to keep it clean. Do not leave the task of cleaning to your domestic workers alone. Get involved with neighbourhood clean-up exercises. With the discontinuation of the monthly environmental sanitation programme, organise one for your neighbourhood. Get your family and friends together, bring some music and snacks, and spend an hour or two tidying up the places around where you call home.
MIND THE GUTTER
Never treat the gutter with contempt. Be mindful of it by keeping the beds and walls clean. It is meant to be a passage for storm water to flow. Do not throw trash into the gutter. Do not urinate inside the gutter. Make sure it is clean. Paint it occasionally.
STIR UP THE DUST
Never allow the dust to settle on your streets. Blow them or sweep them away. A dust-free environment is a pollution-free environment. This keeps your children and adults with respiratory challenges away from the doctors. Join your community in an initiative to sweep your streets regularly.
A STITCH IN TIME
As soon as you notice any crack or pothole on the streets, seal it immediately before it smoulders into a big crater. Various options are available for mending the potholes. Ensure however not to use loose materials as these may cause it to look messy.
PLANT TREES AND LANDSCAPE RESPONSIBLY
Take interest in nature by planting trees in front of your building. Cultivate a community garden on your premises. Eat freshly plucked vegetables. Allow the trees to beautify your surroundings and filter the air around you. Find out which plants thrive very well in your neighbourhood. You can even develop a new hobby in gardening.
Please watch out for the second part of this article.
*Onabanjo is the founder of GO-FORTE FOUNDATION, an organisation dedicated to the restoration of the environment.