By Dapo Akinrefon
LAGOS—THE Association of Scrap and waste Pickers of Lagos, ASWOL, yesterday, said it has started the uploading of the profile of no fewer than 3700 registered waste pickers on its newly launched website.
Speaking during the Nigerian Artisans Technicians Conference held in Lagos, President of the association, Mr Friday Oku stated that the essence of putting the registered members’ profiles on the website was against the backdrop of those who have painted the profession negatively, recalling that cart pushers were banned in Lagos state in 2018.
Oku said: “The website will make you know the real waster picker that is on the street, all the cart pushers we want to have all of them on the website in which they will have a number and you can click on the website and you know that this person is from Ikorodu, Ikeja and you know even the unit where the person is coming from.
“For now those on the website are not up to 1000 but those fill their hard copies, we have 3700. Before we put anyone on the website, we must investigate your source whether you have National Identity Number, so that you can click and know the state that the person is from.
“We want to use LAWMA academy to see how we can train our people on how use, there is one application that Lagos state is bring out called PAKAN app- is the waste management recycle. So, we are training them with the help of some organisation.
“Before when it is raining, you will see a lot of plastics everywhere, but thank God now with the help of others- a lot of companies are coming in, the bottles now are less and is not up to 5 percent and we want it to 30-40 percent recovery from all those dump site, from street and street picking.
“We want to appeal to our citizens in Lagos state to separate your waste, some these wastes you can use to make money to pay PSP on the other alternative waste. Let everybody separate their waste from source, those organic wastes put down for PSP to come take.
“Other waste like plastic, metal and paper keep them aside, is money for all of us, on the recycle chain, we want every household.”
Also, consultant of the association, Rethinking Cities, Mr Deji Akinpelu said the website would serve as bank of information about waste pickers in Lagos.
Akinpelu said: “The website will serve as a resource centre for any information relating to waste and scrap dealers in the state thereby strengthening the waste and scrap dealers’ networks at the international, regional, national and local levels.
“Our goal remains one thing – to organise the waste and scrap pickers to be an integral part of the waste economy of Lagos, a multi-billion naira industry and to get the Lagos policymakers to recognise the role that the informal waste collectors play in the entire waste collection ecosystem.
“This is why We at Rethinking Cities and Heinrich Böll Stiftung see this step as a laudable initiative in our efforts and engagement to end discrimination against informal waste pickers The verification website practically shows the state government how to address some of the challenges it has always attributed to the waste pickers and how to integrate the informal waste pickers as mentioned in the Lagos state plastic policy.”