By Olasunkanmi Akoni

Lagos State Government, through Waste Management Authorities, LAWMA has unveiled communal wastes recycling banks as part of measures to efficiently deal with the menace of over 9,000 tonnes of waste generated daily across the metropolis.
The scheme will see communities in the state partnering the agency in waste sorting in furtherance of the waste management initiative, “Waste to Wealth” programme already ongoing in Lagos.

The waste to wealth programme, it will be recalled was launched in August 1999 by the former Governor of Lagos State, Bola Ahmed Tinubu, with the core objective of harnessing a new line of economic activities and wooing interested investors through the provision of enabling environment for management of resources, protection of the environment through re-use and re-distribution of discarded materials.

One of the newly established recycling banks in Lagos

It is statistically proven that an average of 0.5 Kg of waste is generated by each individual on a day to day basis, which accounts for approximately 9,000 MT of waste generated daily. Sadly, this pile of wastes ends up in landfill sites which are fast filling fast.

The purpose of recycling bank according to LAWMA, is to bring a sense of collective responsibility to the art of waste management in the state, making it a productive and participatory venture between the government and the people.

Recycling is a process by which materials once used are again transformed into new products. Recycling reduces cost of managing landfill sites and is an important way to reduce waste generated without causing more harm to the environment.

A product has been recycled when it has been purchased and used again. Recycling is the third of the 3Rs of the waste hierarchy, Reduce, Reuse, Recycle.

Under the new scheme, the agency is to provide 1000 locally manufactured waste banks to be strategically located in neighbourhoods across the state where residents will go and submit their already sorted household wastes. The sorted wastes are categorized into used clothes, electronic wastes, glasses, plastic materials, cans among others.

It is required that residents  embrace recycling by sorting waste from trash and keeping recyclable materials in separate containers/bags to be disposed of appropriately at the LAWMA Recycling Bank. For instance, a person disposing glass bottles and plastic bottles should endeavour to separate them in different containers and dump them in their respective banks as against disposing them together. By separating the waste from source, it makes the process of recycling easier.

There are two types of waste, biodegradable and non biodegradable. Biodegradable would decay after awhile due to weather and microbes acting on them. Non biodegradable will not decay or decompose.

The waste banks with different compartments for sorting household wastes are being managed by trained waste resource managers (some of them former scavengers incorporated into waste recycle scheme). They are expected to offer expert advice to residents and assist in further separating the wastes before onward transfer to Transfer Loading Station, TLS.

The state Commissioner for the Environment, Mr Muiz Banire while speaking at the unveiling of one of the two banks in Alaka and Eric Moore communities, Surulere, Lagos, said the method was part of the overall plan of the state to reduce the effect of climate change and global warming in the state.

Banire, who was represented by the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Environment Mrs. Titi Anibaba also explained that the new method was in line with best practices around the world to reduce Green House Emission in the state and increase the life span of the residents.

On his part the Managing Director of LAWMA, Mr. Ola Oresanya, said the idea was to bring community in partnership with government towards timely and effective management of waste in the metropolis.

According to LAWMA boss, under the adoption of zero waste initiative, the agency has drastically reduced the volume of waste being disposed at the various landfill sites through waste to wealth alternatives.

“About 1,200 metric tonnes of waste is now being converted to other useful resources under a formal arrangement with the private sector as follows: Waste to compost plant at Ikorodu 8%, waste paper bailed at Ojota, 1%, Plastic/Nylon recycling at Ojo, 2% and other informal activities, 5%

Oresanya who disclosed that 1,000 of such waste recycling banks will be located in different areas including markets within the metropolis, said that the agency would exchange all forms of waste brought in by the people for money according to the kilograms weighed.

He said: “Waste management has gone away from just being government’s responsibility. Communities and the general populace must realise the need to be actively involved in achieving a cleaner and healthier environment.

“The introduction of the waste bank therefore marks a new dawn in waste management in Lagos and heralds the series of events on refuse recovery programme of Lagos State in the years ahead,”

Benefits of recycling

Recycling is one of the main thrust of LAWMA activities, therefore, apart from reducing cost of waste management, the new initiative is also a means of making cheap money to into the pocket of participants.

It reduces cost of manufacturing new products-Economic benefits—creation of employment.

It reduces depletion of neutral resources-it increases the life span of landfill sites.
It reduces water pollution, air pollution and the green house gas emissions that is responsible for global warming.

Fact-sheet about waste management in Lagos

*9,000 tons generated per day
*Recyclable component    80%
*Organic65%, Inorganic 35%
*Adoption of 3 Rs— Reuse Recycle & Reduce       (Global best practice)
*Use of scavengers as Resource Persons at Bank
*Recycling Bank as community sorting centres,       information and         education centre
*To have 1000 banks  in 24 months
*Lagos currently recycle 18 % of waste; hopes to       achieve 35% by            2012
*Waste as resource Waste to Compost 10%, Plastic Recycling 7%,       Paper Bailing 1%
*Tyre Recycling and Briquette on the way
*Waste to Energy to commence at Olushosun in        2011
*To upgrade all Transfer Loading Station (TLS)         to Waste to Energy Plant; Simpson Project to start       soon

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