With a growing population of about 21 million people, “Lagos generates up to 10,000 metric tonnes of waste per day” — Lagos State Waste Management Authority (LAWMA).
These include large amounts of municipal solid wastes, that not just take up land space, but also constitute severe bio-hazards, if not properly disposed of.
Traditional means of waste disposal which includes incineration and land-filling, have in recent times, proved ineffective. With increasing rates of green house gas emissions and uncontrolled water pollution, it is only proper that we turn our gaze to the waste recycling industry in Nigeria.
Waste recycling is the process of converting trash into reusable products to prevent degradation of potentially useful raw materials. Recyclable materials include glass, aluminum, polyethylene, metal scrap, electronic equipment, textile, wood, rubber, e.t.c.
The Waste Recycling industry in Nigeria has the potential to be Africa’s biggest, still, not many entrepreneurs have been successful in this area, majorly due to low funding and minimal support from the federal government.
For few, however, it is not just about the money, it’s a passion to keep our environment healthy. Olubukola Bamiduro, a mother of two, and a certified environmentalist, makes her living from turning used car tyres into beautiful household furniture.
In March 2017, she started the Trash2Wealth Initiative, a platform driven sorely by passion and a desire to change the way people view and treat waste. Knowing fully well that it would take more than a few words to educate Nigerians on the importance of environmental management, Bamiduro took her campaign to schools for what she tagged ‘Catch Them Young’, where she taught students the importance of keeping a healthy environment through recycling.
So far, this journey has not been entirely hitch-free for Bamiduro, who in an interview with connect Nigeria, disclosed that people are yet to fully accept her products, predominantly due to their unawareness of what recycling is.
To manage this, Bamiduro, uses her social media accounts as a medium to teach Nigerians the benefits of waste and environmental management. Though funding is a major challenge she faces, Bamiduro will not throw in the towel as she hopes that soon enough the federal government will look into waste management and provide funding for SMEs like hers.
“It is not easy because we’ve been using capital and support from when we sell, the federal government is yet to do anything. So that is why we’re applying for all grants we can lay our hands on.”
Finally, she encouraged entrepreneurs who are thinking of venturing into the waste management business to refuse to be deterred by the current state of the industry, rather she admonishes:
“Keep doing what you’re doing. One day… it’ll all make sense.”
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