Recycling Banks to Reduce Scavenging at Dumps in Lagos, Nigeria

13 January 2011 The boom in scavenging across the four major dump sites of Lagos, Nigeria has opened the government's eyes to the potential of recycling according to a report in the Lagos Daily Independent. Lagos, Nigeria an emerging mega-city generates over 9000 tons of waste per day. Due to this volume, scavenging has been booming as the rag pickers ransack the four major dumpsites across the state to source for used items that could be sold and recycled. They reportedly believe so much believe in the business that they refer to waste trucks as consignments that have brought in goods to be cleared. Having realised the importance of recycling, the Lagos Waste Management Authority (LAWMA) initiated support for Public/Private Partnership Participation and employment opportunity in resource recovery through the Waste to Wealth programme such as; Nylon Plastic Recycling, Kraft paper collection and buy back programme from scavengers. Today, some of the qualified scavengers are manning recycling banks being sited at various parts of the state as resourced persons just as the state government has adopted the 3 Rs Reuse Recycle & Reduce strategy in waste management. According to the Lagos Daily Independent, at the moment the city recycles 18% of its waste, and is hoping to achieve 35% by 2012. Waste to compost is at 10%, plastic recycling at 7%, and paper bailing 1%. It was also understood that a Waste to Energy project has been billed to commence at Olushosun in 2011. Already, LAWMA has projected a total of 1000 recycling banks to be located in parts of the state within the next 24 months to further boost the programme. Managing Director of LAWMA, Mr. Ola Oresanya said that since the waste agency collection efficiency has reached 80%, it can now focus on recycling, which necessitates the setting up of the recycling banks. A total of nine recycling centres have been established and would also function as information and education centres on waste management. Oresanya is encouraging residents to partner with LAWMA by using the centres to sort their waste, and claims that in doing so the business of scavenging at the dumpsites would gradually be eliminated, since there would be nothing left for them to sort. Oresanya told the Lagos Daily Independent: "LAWMA in its quest for best practices has closely examined the recycling model as being done in the developed nations and realised that some mechanism must be put in place to drive the recycling process hence the need for waste segregation which is an important component in recycling." "These banks would be of immense benefits to both the communities, Lagos and the nation as a whole as our children would be educated further on waste segregation." Commissioner for the Environment, Dr Muiz Banire also noted that recycling is a key component in modern waste minimization strategy, adopted internationally in materials recovery bid in order to conserve the environment and reduce global warming effects of new products manufacturing. "The era of did the PSP operator come to carry our waste would translates to did you sort the waste and how much will I earn. The recycling bank is compartmentalised and branded for items to be sorted. The recoverable materials form 25% by volume of our daily waste stream. Collecting and stockpiling them for reuse is our corporate responsibility to the environment and ensuring sustainability," he stated.