Aquaworld, an organisation committed to promoting values and sustainability of aquatic environments through advocacy has engaged no fewer than 10,000 individuals on plastic pollution management in the coastal communities in Ilaje Local Government Area of Ondo State.

The Organisation, through “The Ocean Leaders Drive”, a community-inclusive project sponsored by the National Geographic, also engaged young minds by creating 13 “Blue Teen Clubs” in local communities to champion the aesthetic value of the Ocean.

Founder of Aquaworld and Project Lead, Paul Ayomide Eweola, while highlighting successes recorded from the Ocean Leaders Drive project carried out between January to December 2022 said no fewer than 13 communities were impacted with necessary knowledge for combatting ocean pollution.

“In 2022, Aquaworld launched the Ocean Leaders Drive Project under the auspices of ‘National Geographic’s Young Explorers’ grant, which I won in December 2021 in recognition of my exceptional courage, leadership, and impact-driven solutions.

“The Ocean Leaders Drive was a community-inclusive project that focused on engaging the younger generation of Ilaje local government, Ondo state, about plastic pollution, it’s sources, effects, as well as necessary actions to curb the menace.

“Through education, plastic advocacy and training, Aquaworld has been able to directly engage 8,691 pupils and 253 college students from 31 schools. We also trained 1,475 traders, elders, youths and residents in 13 different communities.”

Eweola added that Aquaworld achieved this success by training selected youths to become ‘Young Ocean Leaders’ and creating a solid foundation for the Ocean leaders Project to thrive.

“When we set out for this project, 15 youths in Ondo state between the ages of 17-20 years were carefully selected after a competitive muti-tiered application process. They were trained to become young ocean leaders and empowered with necessary resources to deploy the project methodologies through fieldwork to the targetted communities in Ilaje LGA.

“The Project began on January 3, 2022, and was concluded on December 17, 2022. But within that time, the ocean leaders engaged 13 communities in the Ilaje region; Aboto, Aiyetoro, Araromi, Ebute Ipare, Enu Ama, Ereke, Etikan, Igbokoda, Obinehin, Ode Mahin, Okonla, Ugbonla and Zion Pepe.

“Through a series of fieldwork involving the ocean leaders travelling and spending time in each of these communities, the team deployed School and Community Outreach, Capacity building training for College Students, Plastic Creativity workshops, Plastic Mop ups and donated plastic bins to some communities.”

The Aquaworld founder expressed gratitude to National Geographic for the opportunity to further make an impact in local communities, particularly equipping the next generation with requisite knowledge for a safer and healthier environment.

“As a trained ichthyologist, I have dedicated myself towards engendering ocean health and providing solutions around sustainability and conservation, and being able to reach no fewer than 10,000 individuals through Aquaworld Ocean Leaders Drive Project on sustainable practices to help mitigate the effect of plastic pollution on water bodies and it’s contribution to carbon emission is quite fufiling and I won’t relent just yet “, he added.

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