MUHAMMAD SABIU writes that many young people in Kaduna are currently turning waste into wealth, with others learning to make building blocks from recycled plastic materials, which, in the long run, may see Nigerians building their own houses in a cheaper way.
Visits by Arewa Live revealed that so many youths are now bombarding dumpsites picking or collecting waste materials, especially plastic materials and making brisk business from it. Indeed, the business is changing their life if only in a little way as they gradually work their way out of poverty.
Seeing the way that the plastic and nylon waste business is impacting the lives of the youths, many others in their shoes have become full time scavengers moving all over dumpsites and looking for would-be buyers. As it were, many other youths are also being trained in making building blocks and tiles from the waste products.
According to Iro, “The following morning we often sell the waste products to buyers who would already be waiting for us. From the proceeds we get, we assist our parents in solving some financial problems and even buy some books we need in school.”
Commenting on the new development, team leader of the waste experts, Mr Yahaya Ahmed, an engineer, maintained that the era of cement block is over. According to him, blocks made from the recycled waste is stronger and cheaper. He said he was hopeful that in no distant future, blocks made from the recycled waste materials will dominate the market and provide jobs for thousands of unemployed youths roaming the streets. He stressed that using the block for building a house is very economical.
Speaking further, Ahmed said the training of about 1,000 youths has started, adding that: “We are hoping to see that those who received the training would also train other people so as to spread the idea across the nation in order to save our environment against all forms of environmental threats and dangers associated with environmental degradation and waste pollution.”
Mr Pierre Kamsouloum, a Cameroonian, consultant-trainer and expert on recycling plastic who is also involved in the training of the youths, told Arewa Live that the young people in training would also learn other things that would be useful for their lives and well-being.
“This idea was mooted 12 years ago in my town Garowa, in Cameroon and a few years later, I joined other organisations to spread the idea which involved travelling from one country to another.
“We are here in Nigeria to teach other youths how to collect plastic wastes from the trash centre and transform them into something that is useful for the construction of houses and other interior decorations.
“It is my joy to see that many youths get this training so as to help fight unemployment and poverty. I train the youths on how to collect the plastic wastes, wash and dry them, before putting it into a big pot to melt while mixing it with sand extracted from Kaduna River,” he explained adding that the interlocking concrete tiles are very fast to dry and very solid.
Mallam Siba Ahmed Dala, one of the youths under training, said he was surprised because he never envisaged that ‘pure water’ sachets and other plastic wastes could be of economic value. He told Arewa Live that after the training he would be ready to pass the knowledge on to other youths.
Assistant Director, African Climate Reporters, Dr. Piman Hoffman, who was also part of the training programme, applauded the effort of the NGO and Mr Kamsouloum, saying: “recycling is important in today’s world if we want to leave this planet for our future generations.
“It is good for the environment since we are making new products from the old products which are of no use to us. Recycling begins at home. Recycling your waste makes you more responsible in the way you use and dispose it.
“It is evident from studies that people who do this instinctively cut down on buying unwanted things from the supermarkets. When we recycle, recyclable materials are reprocessed into new products, and as a result the amount of rubbish sent for incineration reduces,” he explained.
Arewa Live’s investigations gathered that the first recycled-plastic house is currently being constructed along Kaduna/Zaria road in Kaduna State. When completed it will be the first recycled-plastic house in the country.
Team leader of the trainers, Ahmed told Arewa Live that the biggest challenge now is to involve government in the programme in order to increase the number of trainees.
Ahmed who was the brain behind the first plastic-bottle house in Africa located at Yalwa along Kaduna-Zaria road remarked that recycling of waste plastic is one of the best technologies to avoid environmental air pollution that may arise from burning plastic. He added that as the human population continues to increase, the quantity of solid wastes generation also increases.
Since the ‘Housing for all by the year 2,000’ slogan has failed, this cheaper way of building a house with recycled plastic wastes should attract every Nigerian’s attention. Perhaps in the long run, most Nigerians would have found a way of owning their own houses by keeping and recycling their plastic wastes and not having to wait till their old age before they can build their own house.