Gov. Babajide Sanwo-Olu of Lagos State has advised the residents of the state to minimise waste by recycling them, thereby creating wealth in the process for themselves.
Sanwo-Olu gave the advice during the launch of the Lagos Blue Box Initiative held in Lagos on Thursday.
According to him, recycling is a major fortune earner for government and youths.
“In Lagos, 50 per cent of waste generated contained reusable resources, which can be channel into the economy of the state.
“The recycling of waste encourages the use of another person’s scrap as a fixed stock for another person’s process.
“It minimises waste in our society and generates income for the citizens.
“The Lagos State Waste Management Authority (LAWMA) is saddled with this responsibility of driving a circular economy through active community engagement.
”This will encourage the effective use of recyclable materials to create value chain and create new markets for government and the people.
“Currently, the bulk of the recyclables are being harvested from the dump sites by scavengers in the informal sector.
“The resources harvested often time could not pass the quality test that are needed, making it difficult for the recyclers to get value for the materials,” Sanwo-Olu said.
He said that there was the need to address this challenge as well as tap into the new business opportunity available in the sub sector, which had necessitated the launching of the Blue Box programme.
Also speaking, the wife of the governor, Dr Ibijoke Sanwo-Olu, said that the Lagos Blue Box programme would make the environment cleaner, healthier and livable for all residents.
She said that the programme also would create more jobs for women through job creation, adding that zero waste was a collective responsibility of all.
In his remarks, the Commissioner for the Environment, Mr Tunji Bello, said that the dearth of sufficient land space had also affected adversely the state waste management strategy.
”We are unable to get adequate landfill activities to accommodate the huge waste being generated on a daily basis, estimated to have grown from 10,000 metric tones to 14,000 metric tones within a period of five years.
“This has necessitated our urge to rethink our strategy in waste management and one of which is waste sorting. Our ultimate aim is to attain waste conversation and waste buyback.
“And in the process, turning our waste into resources,” Bello said.
The Managing Director, LAWMA, Dr Olumuyiwa Gbadegesin, gave a technical brief on how the initiative would work in the state.
He said that Lagosians were used to the old-fashioned style of dumping all waste in just one container, for eventual evacuation to the transfer loading station or landfill site by the PSP operators.
Gbadegesin said that the Blue Box Programme would encourage separation of recyclable materials from the general waste at the point of generation .
“We are advising that we should have two waste containers in our homes, a black container for waste, and a blue container for recyclables.
“To kickoff the Blue Box programme, we are distributing these colour-codes recycling bags to each household through franchised recyclers for separation of recyclables.
“The bags will be collected on designated dates or on the assigned days of the week.
“LAWMA will promote the sorting culture with a reward system and participatory households will accumulate coupons distributed by the franchisee.
“The coupons will be exchanged with several redeemable options which include, but not limited to, reduction in amount paid for waste bills,” Gbadeesin said.
He noted that recycles, who exhibited the capacity to collect at the Local Government and Local Council Development areas would be expected to have a minimum of between five trucks and 10 trucks for collection of recyclables from door steps.
The Founder of the Kids Beach Garden Lekki, Mrs Doyinsola Ogunye, who represented the Recycles Association of Nigeria (RAN) commended the Lagos State Government for being the first state to key into recycling of waste in the country.
She called on other states of the federation to join in the campaign.