The Lagos State Government and stakeholders in the recycling industry have emphasised the need for synergy in plastic recycling for maximum impact.
They made this known during a Stakeholders Forum on Plastic Recycling organised by the German Agency for International Cooperation (GIZ) on Wednesday in Lagos.
Mr Ibrahim Odumboni, Executive Director, Lagos Waste Management Authority (LAWMA) said there was a need for Nigerians to have a sound knowledge of what recycling was all about.
“There is a need to have foresight on recycling. You cannot be complaining that you are broke when you have plastics as waste in your house.
“So, you see that this recycling will also address the issue of poverty and unemployment.
“You should not compete against yourselves but compete in volumes. We can all work together and this value chain will move forward,” he said.
Odumboni further urged landlord associations and residents to protect their environment from indiscriminate disposal of waste.
“The landlord associations need to be involved. You don’t need to wait for the government, you need to police yourselves and deal with the problem.
“We should all stop playing ignorant. We are adults, even kids are being taught waste management in school.
“Whether it is drummed into our ears 200 times or not, it is the attitudinal change we ask for. The reality is that everyone should do the right thing,” he said.
Mr Obi Nnanna, Chief Executive Officer, Kaltani, said the way forward for recycling was for stakeholders to have the mindset that recycling doesn’t start and end in Lagos.
“It exists in all geopolitical zones and if we have organisations focused on recycling in different sections of the country, there is a guarantee that the recycling rate in Nigeria will increase.
“We need education and enlightenment for recyclers from primary to tertiary level discussing circular economy, waste management and plastic recycling.
“It will go a long way in addressing unemployment in Nigeria,” he said.
Dr Ndidi Nnoli, Chairperson, Circular Economy Innovation Partnership said everyone shouldn’t just jump on the bandwagon of recycling but take their time to understand it.
Nnoli said recycling was not new but the technology required keeps evolving and learning about it should be a continuous project.
“Ask yourself if the circular economy is new. Recycling has started in every home since that point when an ice cream bowl is used to preserve stew in the refrigerator.
“It is the technology that is new; it is a continuous project. What they refer to as charity with clothes abroad is what we do as ‘bend down boutique’ so we have always practised it here.
“How do we make money from it? You need to know that it is not just a product but a service. It is not just plastics but a lot more.
“A lot of technique is however involved which can be learnt so that you can make money from recycling.” She said.
Nnoli added that it was time stakeholders looked inwards and synergise on how to aid recycling for the benefit of all.
Dr Dolapo Fasawe, General Manager, Lagos State Environmental Protection Agency (LASEPA) said waste would always be generated as long as there was life hence the need for it to be properly managed.
“The waste potential of Lagos has been identified. Circular economy is making a seemingly incomprehensible endeavour for Nigerians to key into.
“Government is interested in the wellbeing of everyone and our standard on that wellbeing varies. This is where policy comes in.
“We look at what we think the problem is and create a directional document to channel efforts towards innovation,” Fasawe, represented by Dr Adebola Odunsi, a Senior Special Technical Assistant, LASEPA, said.
Mr Mazi Ukonu, President, Recyclers Association of Nigeria and Chief Executive Officer, Recyclers Point, said that there should be political will to drive policies on recycling.
“Yes, we need policies to guide us but there should also be a presence of this political will to drive the policies.
“Policies also need dialogues to identify challenges and how it should be tackled to make what we do sustainable. To get things done, you need to get a plan.” he said.
GIZ is currently in partnership with Lagos State Government to promote circular economy by boosting the activities of Micro Small and Medium Scale Enterprises (MSMEs). (NAN)