What started as a dream and a vision in the heart of one man has today become a reality; a manifestation that has seen residents of Lagos State smiling to the bank courtesy of the brilliant initiative by the Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu, to turn waste into wealth.
At the weekend, precisely on Saturday, the waste to wealth discourse gained momentum as 100 winners from over 77,000 entries emerged at the Lagos State Waste Management Agency maiden raffle draw rewarding residents who have keyed into the Lagos Recycle Initiative with ten thousand naira cash prize each.
This is not going to be a one off, as the Managing Director of LAWMA, Mr. Ibrahim Odumboni explained.
‘All the plastic we are collecting from you are not wasted. They are going to our recyclers and from there to off-takers. We also have financial inclusion for everyone so nobody is left out. The intention is to give ten resident winners per LCDA starting from June, 2021.
“In all, Lagos will have 570 winners on a monthly basis of a minimum cash prize of N10,000 and in the future a grand prize will be added to that,” he said
Beaming with smiles Mrs. Keji Fawehinmi, could not hide her excitement as she collected her already credited Lagos Recycling ATM card. As one of the winners in the raffle draw, Mrs. Fawehinmi said that she was reluctant to sort her recyclables at first but became encouraged after her request for pick-up was met with immediate response and today her effort has paid off.
“This gestures shows that the system in place is working,” Mrs. Fawehinmi said.
According to the LAWMA boss, months before the official launch of the Blue Box Initiative on the 5th of September 2019, an initiative meant to drive the consciousness of waste sorting from source, Governor Sanwo-Olu had the vision where the landfills and the drainages within the mega city will be free from recyclable wastes.
Odumboni noted that the raffle draw commensurate two years in office of Gov. Sanwo-Olu and a major advancement in waste management in the state.
“We congratulate our amiable, dedicated and hardworking governor. Today (Saturday) makes it exactly two years in office as governor of this great state. All we are here to do today is all part of his manifesto. All the Promises he gave us in his manifesto, he has kept them and we can see evidences of everything going into manifestation and recycling is a major one,’”Odumboni said.
From five recyclers two years ago, there are now over 47 recognised recycling businesses established in Lagos, with the birth of the Lagos State Recyclers Association, LASGRA.
Also worthy to note is the vibrancy in the recycling sector. According to data made available, thousands of jobs have been created directly and indirectly and residents can now key into the initiative from the comfort of their homes through the Pakam App.
While talks are ongoing within the manufacturing industries to begin the production of biodegradable plastic bottles, the focus should be on how the already generated recyclables can be reused, reduced and recycled and upgraded, Mrs Aderonke Odeneye, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of the Environment and Water Resources, stated.
Addressing the press shortly after the raffle draw, Mrs. Odeneye noted that the raffle draw is a dream come true and goes to show that the state is in the right path. She admonished resident to have a behavioural and attitudinal change to waste as what they term as waste has now become of great value.
“How to come out of penury, how to come out of poverty and move to the next level is being rich. And what are the riches? Your plastic, cartoons, cans, everything is recyclable and they don’t smell. So let’s start source separating from home and when we do that, we gather it together. Download the Pakam App. on your phone, get registered and they will come and pick it up from your location, weigh it and then you have money with support from Heritage Bank,” she said.