Lagos is known to be a coastal state surrounded by water bodies that serve as streams, rivers, beaches and pockets of small communities that are islands. But some of these naturally created beaches along the Lagos shoreline are losing their beauty and worth due to sea level rise that is eroding some of the beaches.
Alpha Beach used to be among the top destination spot for visitors during weekends and festive seasons, but that is now an old tale. The beach has experienced continuous ocean surges which has led to neglect and total abandonment by all. Alpha Beach in Okun Alfa community is situated along the Lekki/Ajah expressway.
But one man’s desire to bring life to Alpha Beach resulted in a beach clean up, that was led by 100 volunteers made up of young people. Pelu Awofeso, a culture and tourism advocate who is the Publisher of Waka About Media said, the clean and blue beaches he has seen in other countries visited, makes him want to restore the “Beach Economy” of beaches in Lagos.
“When a beach is clean, it attracts tourists and this in turn brings about buying and selling around such areas. The host communities benefit from the visit and patronage of people who come to enjoy nature. This makes them want to showcase what they have, their businesses, culture through food,clothing and accessories. That is what is known as “Beach Economy”. It creates an economy within the community where a beach is situated and being patronised.
With several other beaches in Lagos, Mr. Awofeso explained why he chose Alpha Beach for the clean up exercise. “I chose to clean up Alpha Beach because it is a community beach and not private beach. The community has a link to this place but so unfortunate how this place has turned out. The Lagos state government can revive beach tourism in this once popular beach and I believe that through initiatives like this, we can restore the economy and economic potential of beaches in Lagos and other parts of the country”.
“This clean up exercise is not going to be a one off, we will be going around the state looking for beaches that need to be cleaned up. That is what I call “Beach Samaritan”. It is my desire to sea our beaches clean and patronised, so that the socio-economic activities of host communities can increase”.
“When we were planning this clean up, we called for volunteers through social media platforms and were amazed at the zeal and passion expressed by respondents. We also needed sponsors and were able to get a few of them with the Lagos State Waste Management Authority LAWMA being our chief sponsor. LAWMA supplied all the cleaning materials we needed for our volunteers to work with and also they gave us a bus to use. We got other sponsors here and there but not enough to cater for all we need, but I can say it is a success”.
The General Manager of Radio 103.5 fm who was the special guest of Honour at the clean up exercise Mrs Funke Treasure-Durodola said a beach is a place that people come to relax and enjoy nature. “But the state I saw this beach was not encouraging or attractive to make me visit. If we all can stand up to support initiatives like this, the environment will be better for all. Initiatives like this need the buy-in of the State government and other corporate organizations”.
By Tina Armstrong-Ogbonna