Recycling companies have turned scavengers of refuse items at various dump sites in Lagos into people of great wealth
| By Augustine Adah | Dec. 24, 2012 @ 01:00 GMT
THE establishment of a waste recycling factory in Lagos has created a new source of wealth for the residents. Consequently, dump sites in the metropolis have become a bee hive of activities for scavangers searching for waste papers, plastic materials, metals and pure water sachets among other items in refuse dump, in spite of the health hazards involved.
At the Olusosun dump site, Ojota, for instance, young men and women struggle to pick items as waste trucks offload waste materials. Whatever items they succeed in picking are taken to recycling factories where they are weighed to determine the appropriate prices to be paid.
The recycling factory established by the Lagos Waste Management Authority, LAWMA, was designed to recycle waste paper, plastic and bottle but at the moment only pure water sachets are being turned into nylon bags. A staff of the company, who wishes anonymity, told Realnews that LAWMA buys used pure water sachets at the rate of N30 per kilo and uses them to produce black nylon bags. Similarly, Glass Force, Aba, West African Glass Industry, WAGI, Port Harcourt, Rivers State, WAGI, Ugheli, Delta State and Agbara, Ogun State, are some glass companies that make use of broken bottles or culets of different colours like amber, green and flint. These are processed into bottles that are sold to breweries and soft drink companies such as the Nigeria Breweries, 7up, and Coca cola.
People who are in this business openly admit that, though the job is tedious, they make some fortunes from it. Desmond Ukachukwu, who has been supplying culets to the International Glass Industry, IGI, for the past five years, said that the business is lucrative but very tedious one. “Last year, I was able to pay my house rent through the supply I made to Glass Force. I started gathering broken bottles between July and December. I supplied about 20 tons which gave me N280, 000,” Ukachukwu said.
Ibrahim Galadima, who supplied scrap iron from Kaduna to Lagos, stated that scrap iron is one of the lucrative businesses to do but in recent times, the materials are not easy to come by because many have come into the business. “Some years ago when many people were not exposed to the business, it was a very lucrative venture, but now, the scraps are not easy to get,” he said.
A kilo of amber culets costs between N13 to N14 depending on the company while flints and green culets are supplied at N11 and N14 per kilo, respectively. Another scrap material that is in high demand and brings a lot of money to those who can gather them in good quantity is iron of different types. Many steel companies require them for the production of different sizes of iron rods. Such companies include, African Steel, Sunflag Steel, and Super Engineering all in Ikorodu, Lagos State. A kilo of iron scraps goes for between N45 and N55. In anticipation of the scarcity of waste materials, many companies have created dump sites where they store waste items which they buy and may not use immediately.