Several volunteers and scores of residents came out to clean the environment as part of an effort to drive a cleaner Lagos. The cleanup day in Aroloya, Idumagbo area of Lagos Island was in response to the growing concerns of increase in waste and a further decrease in awareness creation about the benefits of a clean environment and recycling.
The cleanup day is the fourth in the series of the campaign for a cleaner environment which debuted in September, 2015. In attendance were several volunteers, community members, representative of organizations including Mrs. Bilikiss Adebiyi-Abiola, Founder, Wecyclers; Mr Boluwaji Oyewumi, Programs Manager Wecyclers and Chairman of the Organising committee; Hon. Tayo Ajayi, Councillorship aspirant, Lagos-Island Ward C3; Lola Talabi-Oni; Members of the World Economic Forum Global Shapers, Lawma, Green Cycle and Andela.
“With the growing concerns of environmental issues and increase in waste production across Nigeria, we came to a realization that we cannot leave all to the government hence we introduced the cleanup day to drive community participation in issues pertaining to the environment and encourage recycling” Bilikiss Adebiyi-Abiola said.
On Wecyclers role in promoting recycling Mrs Adebiyi-Abiola said; Lagos, Nigeria faces a sobering waste crisis that will only worsen as the city’s population of 18 million people continues to soar. Our partner, the Lagos State Waste Management Authority has become overburdened and collects only 40% of city garbage estimated to be at 13,000 Metric tons daily and a mere 13% of recyclable materials are salvaged from landfills.
People living in slum conditions without formal waste collection are subject to increased flooding, disease spread, and psychological stress that result from unmanaged trash heaps. Concurrently, recycling firms in Lagos face a supply constraint—they cannot access adequate supply of quality materials required for processing. One of the large recycling firms in the country is operating its factory at 50 to 60% below capacity. We recognized this and introduced our model, which to a considerable extent solves the urban waste challenge for households and recyclers.
We motivate families to recycle plastic bottles, plastic sachets, and aluminum cans through our SMS-based incentive program. For every kilogram of material that families recycle with us, they receive redeemable Wecyclers points over their cell phones in return. Families can then redeem their points for goods that they value, such as cell phone minutes, basic food items, and household goods. Families receive collection reminders and rewards updates directly on their mobile phones making the benefits of recycling immediate.
The Cleanup day is one of the avenues we have created to promote recycling and as well drive the need to clean up our environment “According to the Lagos state Waste Management Authority the amount of waste produced daily in Lagos rose to 13,000 Metric tonnes daily in 2015 and there remains a huge need to drive awareness on a cleaner society and promote recycling.
Although the cleanup day is targeted at communities, several volunteers have embraced this initiative as an essential part of enlightening and participation for cleanliness in the society.
“This is an incredible initiative and we are very proud to bring recycling to Lagos Island in a bid to help reduce the waste burden in Lagos”, said Lola Talabi-Oni, member of the organizing committee for Hon. Olutayo Ajayi.