Council’s polythene waste buy-back programme cleans environment, brings financial succour to residents when the rains delayed to come, Salmanu Sara was idle.
He was not able to go to the farms and he began to worry about how to get the money for the upkeep of his family.Then, he heard that Gwaram Local Council was buying refuse from residents at N500 a bag. “That was a big relief because I was already getting worried that I might not be able to feed my family since the rain had not fallen. “I started picking used polythene bags and within two weeks, I had picked 20 bags from which I made N10,000”.
According to the local council Chairman, Alhaji Bala Sule Kila, the new moneymaking ‘Operation Rid Gwaram of Refuse’ was aimed at checking negative consequences of indiscriminate disposal of polythene substances as well as a means of empowering people.
The council boss explained that the local council usually buys each bag of wasted polythene and other non-biodegradable materials at N500. “ “We will pay any body the sum of N500 who goes round the town and markets to pick each sack of polythene, metals and other substances that take long to decompose”
The chairman noted that the programme was going to be effective at all major towns and markets, adding that after collecting the refuse, they would be burnt. In his words: “We started at Gwaram and continued at Zandam Nagogo, Basirika, Fagam and Sara. “It is going to be sustained, as you can see, we are in rainy season that will help us in removing every refuse that may block our drainages ,which will also protect us against flooding.“ Apart from improved sanitation that prevents the spread of some infectious diseases, it will also put money in people’s pockets.”
He disclosed that the programme would also complement the efforts of over 200 casual workers engaged by the council to clean markets, motor parks, health institutions, abattoirs and streets. The chairman said all is in line to supplement the Lamido’s administration on environmental sanitation and protection policy.
Since the programme took off, major towns are now clean as people make efforts to pick as much of the polyethylene substances as possible. He lamenting that polythene and leather products used as packages were allowed to litter and block drainages, adding that mosquitoes also bred in the drainages.
Killa, therefore, canvassed for a particular law that would compel companies “whose products have direct consequences on the health of the people to be made to pay some taxes that will be taken back to the health sector to care for the people.” This is coming on the heels of concern raised by environmentalists and concerned stakeholders, on the danger inherent in the indiscriminate disposal of non-biodegradable substances all over the environment.
They observe that polyethylene bags used for pure water and for other purposes litter many streets of Nigerian cities, block drainages and water canals, causing water to overflow their bounds as well as act as breeding grounds for mosquitoes that cause malaria. They are also known to disrupt germination of seeds, thereby causing food insecurity.