Planeteer Feature: Solomon Leads the ‘Plog’ Towards a Plastic-Free Future

Solomon Ekundayo, age 24, is a Planeteer and member of the Tide Turners Policy Change Champion cohort, who can often be found running throughout his home of Lagos, Nigeria. As an environmentalist focused on the detrimental effects of plastic pollution, Solomon found a passion for plogging. Plogging means “pick up and run” and essentially merges the act of running while collecting garbage. Its goal is to pick up litter in cities and natural spaces through an active community activity.  Upon joining Planeteer Alliance in 2022, Solomon was already hard at work cleaning up his community as the team lead of the Plogging Nigeria Club, at Ahmadu Bello University.

Solomon has been plogging for over five years, and throughout that time has run and revitalized over 107 km. These runs resulted in the collection of more than 1,200 bags of waste, which included 12,000 plastic water bottles. With the collection of this waste, Solomon sought to find a way to make these destructive materials a force for creation. Using the plastic bags and bottles Solomon and his team gathered, they begin producing eco-friendly pavement bricks.        

The bricks proved to be five times more durable than that of regular ones and offer a sustainable, strong, and affordable alternative to conventional building materials. Solomon is growing his plogging and eco-brick efforts. He is currently working to fund The Project PET House, a movement working to help the environmental and social issues throughout Nigeria. 

This effort strives to build important public spaces from waste collected during plogging. Their premier project was the creation of a seater at Ahmadu Bello University’s Love Garden in Zaria, Nigeria. The project’s focus on the circular economy also aims to help people in the community by providing means of income. Last year the project employed over 20 women, allowing them to earn additional income to send their children to school.   

This last year, Solomon hosted a WIND Summit with Planeteer Alliance, where he held a weekend-long event teaching other young environmentalists about the importance of the circular economy as a solution to the plastic crisis our world is facing. He continues educating young minds through his published storybook titled, The Loud Cry of Ogun River, a work focused on helping youth understand the importance of conservation and their power within the environmental sectors. When asked for his advice to rising advocates, Solomon said “Never underestimate your efforts. It might not make sense at first but stay committed and true, contribute meaningfully and you’ll be influencing others positively and making a long-lasting impact.”