Climate Change Realities: A Day At Kaduna Recycling Plant

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BY SOLA OJO

A solid waste management expert and Chief Executive Officer, Z L Global Alliance (Nigeria), Mrs Abiola Bashorun once said that an average person generates at least 1 kilogramme of solid waste per day. What this means is that 1,000 Nigerians generate one ton of plastics and other solid waste irrespective of the part of the country they reside daily.

If 1,000 persons generate one ton of waste daily, Kaduna with a population projection of about 10 million people (third most populous state in Nigeria after Lagos and Kano) will be generating about 10,000 tons per day which is huge considering the weak waste management system in its major and back streets.

According to BioEnergy Consults, Nigeria generates more than 32 million tons of solid waste annually mostly by households and local businesses out of which only 20-30 percent is collected while the remaining 70 percent is indiscriminately dump in uncompleted buildings, streets, drains, roadside and rivers.

Despite the humongous annual budgetary provisions for the Kaduna state ministry of environment and natural resources and Kaduna State environmental protection authority, the state is battling waste management as a part of the required measures to mitigate climate change realities and make the environment habitable for humans and the ecosystem as they interact.

Commenting on the indiscriminate dumping of plastic bottles and other solid waste on Kaduna roads by marketers and residents alike, Executive Director, Bridge That Gap and global climate change ambassador, Ms Gloria Kasang Bulus asked the state’s ministry and the agency responsible for waste evacuation and environmental task force to be strategic about these responsibilities.

According to Gloria, “people will need a better location to drop their used plastic bottles and other solid waste for possible evacuation and recycling so we can make the environment safer for us and other users and this is a government responsibility.

“So, there is the nan need for an effective evacuation strategy to be put in place looking at the volume of waste generated in the state daily. We should further look at how to harness the waste generated or evacuated to something that will benefit the people much more than pollution, floods and outbreak of diseases associated with indiscriminate dumping of these wastes”, she said.

But one company is trying to help the federal and Kaduna state governments mitigate climate change realities through evacuation and recycling of plastics and metal wastes.

Headquartered atop hectares of land at densely populated Kaduna community called Kurmi Marshi in Kaduna South local government area of Kaduna state with about 600 skilled and unskilled personnel, SPC Integrated Recycling Company, Nigeria, may be an answer to concerns of environmentalists around plastic and metal wastes evacuation and recycling in Nigeria.

Manager, Plastic Department of the company, Hassan Faisal Suleiman, told this correspondent that, it was started by an individual some fifteen years ago at a place called fertiliser in Kaduna but it has spread to about 80 percent of northern states while it is in Lagos, Osun and Benin from where it expected to cover the entire country.

According to Hassan, the company source its materials from community dumb sites, house-to-house purchase with the help of boys who move about with trucks.

“We are open to everyone and we do encourage people to sort their waste into metal, plastic and even cabbage for agricultural purposes. As I said, we have boys who go round to buy these materials using scale. They are also paid on arrival though the payment depends on the quality of the materials because there are plastics that are not recyclable for now.

“We sort them into various categories and colours. We crush them to reduce the sizes, wash them to reed them off impurities and then dry to remove the moisture. After these, they are fed into the recycling machine to produce pallets. From there, the pallets are transferred into another process entirely where we make clothing’s, polyester, kettles, plates, spoons, cups, baskets etc.

“So we encourage people to get a place to keep their used plastic bottles and get paid instead of dumping them indiscriminately.

“This means we are helping the country through waste management. We collect at least five tons of waste daily here in Kaduna and more than that sometimes (A ton is what a single cabin pick up fan can carry). These are items that would have ordinarily ended up in drains or rivers and then, leading to floods and diseases outbreak.

“Again, we do take apprentices and the government can sponsor people especially youths. Many Nigerians will agree with us that unemployment plays a significant role in the issue of insecurity we are having as a country and because this business accommodates both learned and unlearned, We have managers who have never gone to school and they manage huge resources at their disposal very well”, he said.

He however lamented the high cost of energy and security threat to the survival of the company in its present location in Kaduna state quickly added that the company in collaboration with security agencies was doing its best to secure the staff and the company.

“We are trying our best. We have guards while liaising with the divisional police office here in Kurmi Marshi to further safeguard our staff and property. Since we have been here about a year ago, we have not experienced any external security compromise.

“On power, honestly, both the public electricity and generating sets supplies are challenging. As you can see, we are running on generating set because there is no public electricity supply.

“Some of these machines need pre-warming of about three hours before they are put to use. Even with that, we use gas to further heat them to enable them to produce good outcomes. One machine consumes about a million naira per month and we have three of such machines. But, we are planning to generate our power source”, he explained.

One of the women working in the factory, Mrs Esther Ayuba said, with what she is earning, she is being able to support her husband in domestic expenditures and payment of school fees of their children.

“I joined them here earlier last year which has been helping me to support my family economically. I love what I’m doing. Women need to have a legal means of earnings. Women should get engaged to earn income and no matter how small, it will contribute to the family economic needs.

“The idea of depending on your husband for every item you or the family need is long gone. The way things are now, we need to join hands as mother and father or husband and wife so we can make ourselves and our children better citizens”, she opined.

The 26th conference or COP26 of the parties under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change UNFCCC – which was the possibly largest gathering on climate issues ever, hosted in Glasgow, where hundreds of heads of state, diplomats, climate experts, business leaders, journalists, and campaigners agreed on collective climate mitigation and adaptation strategy development and engagement.

As Kaduna State government begins to spend about N4.6bn (representing about 1.7% of the N278.5bn total budget for the year 2022) on its ministry of environment and natural resources and Kaduna State Environmental Protection Authority (KEPA), It behoves on the implementers to develop effective communication strategy and tactics that can carry the majority of its citizens along in its responsibility of maintaining cleaner and safer Kaduna environment as a part of collective adaptation plans to mitigate climate change in its environment.

SOLA OJO Is A Kaduna, Northwest, Nigeria-based Development Journalist.

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