Wednesday, 14 December 2016

LIFE AS A SCAVENGER - KEEPING LAGOS CLEAN


While millions of Nigerians are crying for hunger in this recession period, there are people who are making a living in a decent manner and at the same time helping to keep Lagos clean - the  Kole-Kole. The truck pushers who moves from street to street picking and packing our wastes.

According to a World Bank Urban Development Series report, Africa currently produces about 70 million tons of waste every year. With its rapid urbanization and growing economies, waste production in Africa will exceed 160 million tons by the year 2025.





So, I visited one of such dumb site at Oke-Afa, near Isolo in Lagos, I volunteered to be one of them so I can feel it the way it is before writing my story. What we call participant observer in research study.

In this particular community, their head who was simple indentified as Sariki, gave me a warm reception after I introduced myself and told him my mission. He told me that he has spent over 23 years within the premises of the dumb-site and that they are over 500 men and women within the community. They are all gainfully employed and they have their family there. Their children attend schools just like other kids. One of the member of the community told me he moved in there after secondary school when he had no money to further his education and had no job, he said; today he is paying school fees for two of his younger ones in the university.

Heaps of dump sorted out for the market




While I was there, I noticed that they practice division of labour, there are truck pushers, who go out to gather the dumps, there are people who also brought in their dirt specially to deliver and they got paid. Plastic, tins, papers, irons, are all sorted, weighed and sold to manufacturing companies who recycle them for use in new productions.



This outfits are helping the Nigerian manufacturing industries. Years back the plastic industries in Nigeria use to import all their materials, but today they buy old plastics and recycle them. Most plastic companies in Songo Otta are their customers, they come there to buy old slippers, plastic engine oil gallons, broken cups, combs, used water bottles, chairs and many others.


Waste polythene is also transformed into useful raw materials through the process of recycling. Used polythene, such as pure water sachet, black, white or any coloured poly bags, nylon used in wrapping new electronics like computer, television sets, cellphone or pharmaceutical drugs, even bread wrappers and all wrappers made of nylon.

Sariki told me the challenges they are having with LAWMA and the PSP body, these authorities arrest the Kole-Kole men, takeaway their trucks and demand for N5000 from them, after which their trucks are returned to them.

With Saraki, the leader in charge of the dump site




Now if government should ban them, I am wandering, considering the fact that waste is a big challenge and it causes pollution, disease and environmental crisis when it’s not properly disposed and the fact that poor managements of these wastes ends up in gutters and drainages, how will the Lagos State Government manage to reach the areas where LAWMA trucks can't get to?

Recycling is an economic development tool as well as an environmental tool, according to statistics Lagos, alone produces about 10,000 metric tons of waste every day, with about 1,200 metric tones being converted into other uses. Recycling create reduction and offer direct development opportunities for people. Recycling is an industry that adds value to the Gross Domestic Product of a country. If the Kole-Kole is not against LAWMA and Lagos State, then they should work as a team for each other.

5 comments:

  1. Dr always amazing me, that was an eye opening piece. Do you know early this year I was writing a proposal with a friend to start waste to wealth business and as a form of community intervention. I think I have to revisit that proposal after reading your blog about it again.

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  2. Good insight into a simple but viable business. Thanks for the write-up. I hope LAWMA and Lagos State will take a look and give them support.

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  3. This is indeed wonderful..... We, the entire staff of Gong Media Communication actions, the publisher of Gong Africa News Magazine and Maracas International News Magazine are solidly behind you in this your epoch making research. We all says; ..."BRAVO"...
    We " BELIEVE " in you.

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  4. Every day, doctor will always make us see beyond the physical rim of any study.... your excellency sir. BRAVO

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