JUST DO IT! (No, not NIKE…)


I celebrated this year's Global Recycling Day volunteering with the Mission Zero Plastics campaign in Ilorin. However, along with the fun, I had a significant encounter. That sounds deep uhn?

My team and I had to plog along Offa-Road in Ilorin which brought back memories for me since I spent the early mornings and evenings of my secondary school years walking that route. Then we met this Lady and a heated debate ensued.

Before now, I thought I'd only encountered such fierce talks during evangelism, since talks about Jesus seems offensive to many. I was in awe! Never expected it– not in my wildest imagination while I was picking plastic wastes. I started a right conversation with this lady but it went literally left in an instant.

She was of the opinion that we were being used. "C’mon, we're youth, don't let us be deceived", she intensely opined. But her statement stung. 

My pride was hurt– I have always felt I was doing something noble and great. I mean, saving the world from litters and environmental pollution. For the first time, ever since I became a Plogga, never have I felt ashamed picking dangerous plastic waste litter off the streets and drains… even with my 'pain-stakingly-washed’ white sneakers.

"What will you be using the plastics for?" she asked,

"It will be recycled and used to build learning infrastructures" I replied.

"And you think, they're going to do that?" she scoffed. 

I realized then, that I never conceived the idea, I never thought "aah, what if Mission Zero Plastic ends as mission zero..." Just what if they deviate from the stated mission? Beneath her scoffing I saw a Nigerian– frustrated, disappointed, distrustful of leadership. but can I blame her though? This is Nigeria after all; a land of milk and honey that starves its own.

However, in a moment reflection, I asked myself why? Why did I join the Mission gleefully, along with these excited young men and women? Why didn't I consider the possibility of failure? Was it blind trust in the Mission or was I just a pawn being played? And I was reminded of SeyiBabs who, asked a question– "do you think there are still persons willing to die for Nigeria?" Many responded with a list of reasons people wouldn't/shouldn't die for Nigeria. But that didn't answer his question for he asked not ‘Why’ but ‘Who?’

Sometimes, it’s not about why people don't want to do something but about those who still want to do it anyways.

And as I watched my team roll up their sleeves, hard at work in clocked drainages and talk to people on the street, the streaks of sweat that lined their faces, their energetic hands and spirits as we carried the 45kg bag of salvaged plastic wastes— that was my defining moment— I found my answer.

It wasn't blind trust, neither have I yielded myself as a pawn, there's just so much to do than speculating on what ifs. I - we saw an opportunity to play a part in protecting the environment and people, and we took it.

"So, what if we're scammed?"

"Well... What if we're not?" What if, right?

If you know how light a plastic bottle is, you'll know how much of it we removed. And the sight of a clean environment void of plastic waste is nothing but Joy to us– this, accompanied with the hazards of plastic on the environment is what the lady did not know.

Maybe it's not about plastics or the environment, maybe it's about you–and me–Us. We don't stop doing what we can on the basis of 'What ifs'.

"So, what if it doesn't work out?"

"Well... what if it does?"

You have an opportunity to give a try– do it. The odds in your 'What if' situation is great!

Author: Joy Ifeoluwa ADEYEMI is a student. She is a lover of words, Art and fresh air. She volunteers with and is a member of Plogging Nigeria Club, UNILORIN. 

Editor: Usaefat Sodiq | Principal Plogga, UNILORIN. 

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  1. "You have an opportunity to give a try– do it. The odds in your 'What if' situation is great!"
    That's simply the icing on the cake.

    Such a beautiful and relatable write up.

  2. I had a similar encounter with friends weeks ago, the words hit really hard but all that matters is to #playmypart and #savetheearth.

  3. We'll just keep on doing it!!!!💪💪