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Ministry, group to sanitise waste pickers in Abuja

By Miriam Oparaocha
07 November 2022   |   3:32 am
To tackle cases of theft associated with local waste pickers, stakeholders have called for their proper identification to separate them from miscreants.

To tackle cases of theft associated with local waste pickers, stakeholders have called for their proper identification to separate them from miscreants.

The call was made at a round table meeting on improving National Security Using Technology in the Informal Waste Management Sector held in Abuja, organised by Chanja Datti, a Non-Governmental Organisation in collaboration with the Federal Ministry of Environment (FME).

FCT Minister, Malam Muhammad Musa Bello. Photo: FACEBOOK

In his address, the Director of Pollution and Environment, Federal Ministry of Environment, Mr. Usman Bokani, said there was a need for the Association of Waste Management and Association of Waste Pickers to have a means of identification of their members to separate them from these miscreants.

He said: “The FME recognised that the waste pickers are among the principal actors in waste management value chain because of the important role they play in creating value from the waste generated by others and in contributing to the reduction of carbon emissions.

He said the collaboration would sanitise and improve the activities of waste pickers in line with Nigeria’s National Security Strategy and promote a clean, safe and healthy environment.

The Director, of Abuja Environmental Protection Board, Mrs. Sherifatu Lawan, said that waste pickers locally known as Boola-Boola roaming the city in search of the so-called recyclables have been banned by the Minister of Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Mr Muhammed Bello.

The Chief Executive Officer, Chanja Datti, Ms. Funto Borroffice, said her organisation has been working with the waste pickers association for seven years while stressing that the meeting was to create awareness that waste pickers are not threats to the environment.

“Right now in Nigeria, 64 million tonnes of waste is generated every year that’s a lot of waste and unfortunately only 10 to 15 per cent of it is collected in our downside and waterways, unfortunately, Nigeria is ranked ninth in the world in terms of pollutants in our oceans.

“We generate over 200,000 tons of plastic annually that end up now and there’s a big conversation around what that is going to into aquatic animals. and the like. So against marine and terrestrial land also in terms of pollution of pollution, especially around plastics, we generate.” She explained.

She said that Chanja Datti is working with sister agencies to create more value for the resources waste pickers to get access to the market.

Borroffice, however, disagreed that the majority of the waste pickers are criminals, saying that the organisation is hoping to provide dignity of labour for the waste pickers to encourage them.

A representative of the FCT Police Command Mr Akinwale Akappo, said that the Nigerian Police is working to checkmate the activities of criminal waste pickers in the FCT.

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