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. Here are more of the suggestions or initiatives I encourage you to carry out to make your neighbourhood cleaner, healthier, nicer and pollution-free for everyone.
Go to a car wash
A way to prevent urban run-off is to take your car to a car wash. This prevents the washing chemicals from eroding the tar on the roads. When vehicles are washed on the driveway, the water carries the toxins from your yard and the cleaning chemicals into the storm drain which flows directly to our waters. The run-off water is the major cause of asphalt road deterioration.
Take a stroll or ride your bike
Walking or riding a bike to places within two to five kilometres from your residence reduces your contribution to air and water pollution. Whilst walking, take cognisance of the beauty along your path and appreciate it. Also take note of the things that are out of place and draw attention to them on your group chat platform.
Reduce and reuse
Reduce the use of materials, where you can. Reuse wrapping papers, gift bags, plastic containers and anything else as much as you can. Recycling is very important, but reusing is even better and saves you money too. Try and sort your waste and put aside recyclables. Join recycle clubs.
Keep away from plastic bottles and styrofoam
Plastic bottles and pure water sachets are not biodegradable. Avoid using them as much as you can. Styrofoam is one-single-use material that cannot be recycled. Styrofoam is harsh on the environment and is often found at beach clean-ups and in our waters. Choose alternatives to styrofoam cups, egg cartons and miscellaneous other supplies that will inevitably end up in your street gutters or in a landfill. Revert to the use of glass bottles or flasks, instead of plastics.
Organise paint splash or community painting
You can join other families in your neighbourhood to paint up communal areas or highlight speed humps, or paint roadside kerbs or even line up your roads, beautifying your environment. You can consider painting your gutter walls too.
Find your voice
Learn how you can join friends and have a voice in decision-making in your community by participating in the zonal or residents’ meeting to support clean, healthy neighbourhoods. Speak out against unsavoury habits or developments you see around and help curb them before they fester into a neighbourhood slur. We are in an era of speaking up. Speak out until an action is taken or you take the action.
Avoid littering roads with cars
If you can park within your premises, do park in there and avoid parking cars on the streets overnight. It helps with the tidiness of the area and reduces obstructions to street sweepers. It equally allows clear sightlines which enhance the security of your neighbourhood.
The only way to keep your neighbourhood clean is to love and appreciate it. The only way you will love your neighbourhood is if you spend time in it. Get up and take a stroll around your community to remind yourself what you love and why you want to keep it clean. Getting out makes you notice new building styles and appreciate colours and new developments in your neighbourhood.
–Onabanjo is the founder of GO-FORTE FOUNDATION, an organisation dedicated to the restoration of the environment.