In Lagos, Nigeria’s megacity, a group of teenagers wade through a mass of plastic bottles, food containers and bags that have blocked a waterway. Wearing gloves and masks, they pick up the discarded plastic and drop them into refuse bags.
Welcome to Lagos’ “Trashion Show” where models strut down a catwalk wearing rubbish outfits – literally.
Their clothes are made from discarded plastic bags.
The event is run by teenage eco-warriors such as 15 year-old Esohe Ozigbo.
The Trashion Show means a lot to me, I have been doing it for years and it is like a way of showcasing to everyone what we can do with the trash we so carelessly discard, and I really think it is like us making a statement and showing that we care about the environment and you should too. We are just teenagers but we are trying to like make a change in the world.”
The environmental activists stage their shows in shopping malls, mixing fashion with advocacy in a bid to spread a green message.
Plastic waste and litter is ubiquitous in Lagos, the commercial capital of Africa’s most populous country, Nigeria.
With more than 20 million people, the megacity generates 10,000 metric tons of waste every day.
Ozigbo and her group participate in community clean-ups, recently wading through a mass of plastic pollution that blocked a waterway.
They’re supported in their mission by Green Fingers Garden, a not-for-profit conservation group founded by Chinedu Mogbo.
“…Together we went out, we picked up the plastics, we cleaned the environment. But rather than just taking everything maybe to a dumping site or so, we felt we get creative with it, so we decided to spruce things up and start the Trashion Show.”
Ozigbo said she hopes the shows made shoppers think about their actions and cites Swedish teenage climate activist Greta Thunberg as her inspiration.
‘We are the generation who are going to be like leading in a few years, and like the older people at the end of the day they will end up leaving this earth and we will be the ones left with it, so we need to start now because in a few years it is going to be too late to do anything.”
Their aim is to enable water to flow around the waterway that was constructed to prevent flooding in the city’s Sangotedo district, while raising awareness of the problems caused by single-use plastic.
“We need to start now because in a few years it’s going to be too late to do anything,” said Esohe Ozigbo, the 15-year-old climate change activist who leads the group of youngsters, on the need to address environmental issues.
Plastic waste is ubiquitous in Lagos, the commercial capital of Africa’s most populous country with a population of more than 20 million people, where dropping litter is commonplace.
To reinforce their message about the extent of the waste in Lagos, Ozigbo and her fellow activists attach plastic to fabric to create garments they wear in their annual “Trashion Show”.
Greenfingers Wildlife Initative, a non-profit conservation group funded by donations, works with young people to stage the shows in shopping malls. The goal is to “mix creativity with advocacy”, said the organisation’s founder, Chinedu Mogbo.
“Rather than just taking everything maybe to a dumping site… we decided to spruce things up and start the Trashion Show,” he said.
In the car park of a Lagos shopping mall in early April, shoppers watched teenagers clad in multicoloured shopping bags, rubbish sacks and plastic bottles.
Ozigbo, who cites Swedish teenage climate activist Greta Thunberg as her inspiration, said she hoped the shows made shoppers think about their actions.
“We are just teenagers but we are trying to … make a change in the world,” she said.
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