The Centre for Earth Works (CFEW), a Non- governmental organization concerned with creating awareness on climate and environmental issues through the engagement of youths has organized a capacity-building training on waste for informal waste pickers also known as Yan Kwalabe in Jos metropolis.
The training held on the 3rd of August, 2022 at the CFEW office located at the Old Nitel building in Jos, Plateau State.
Speaking at the event, the Director of Enforcement Mr. Barnabas Pam of the Plateau Environmental and Protection Sanitation Agency (PEPSA) encouraged the waste pickers to be diligent in their duty and create awareness among residents of their communities on the dangers of disposing of waste inappropriately due to its negative health impacts. He noted that waste can be disposed of appropriately through various waste disposal methods which include sanitary landfills, incinerators, and the use of standard waste bins. He as well discussed the chain of waste management saying ’’waste disposal is a cycle that involves collecting waste from homes to the central collection units and the final dumpsites where all waste collected are disposed’’.
Also, Mr. Daniel Obekpa a development Consultant, enlightened the waste pickers on the importance of their job because it serves as a means of livelihood that provides them with their daily needs and necessities. As such, He urged them to inculcate good saving habits because savings play a vital role in settling debts, assisting and strengthening their businesses. Likewise, Mr. Daniel informed the waste pickers of the health hazards involved with the job saying ’’Waste picking is a job that involves a lot of health hazards, therefore it is important that you adhere to safety rules like wearing of gloves and nose mask, avoid touching the face when working, having a shower immediately, washing of clothes regularly and visiting the hospital specially when injuries are sustained from metals by taking anti-tetanus injections’’. The waste pickers were also educated on the right postures to take when lifting heavy items to minimize the physical risk of back pain and the meaning of the biohazard symbol.
Furthermore, the Team Lead of CFEW, Mr. Benson Dotun Fasanya deliberated on the concept of Zero waste and the importance and benefits of composting. He also disclosed that composting consists of items that are compostable and non-compostable and composting helps in the reduction of food waste.
In conclusion, Mr. Jimmy Adeniran Chairman of Yan Kwalabe Market Association Jos, noted that the program was very impactful asserting ‘’the program was very interesting and we have learned a lot. CFEW has been contributing a lot to the market association with its various programs like the tree planting exercise and other programs they have organized at the museum for about four or five times’’.
He also added that they face certain challenges which are the unavailability of capital for scavengers, lack of awareness by the public on how to sort waste for disposal, and financial assistance from the government in terms of providing plants that recycle waste thus reducing the cost of transportation to other states. Similarly, the Secretary of the association, Mr. Awallu Biliyaminu appreciated the efforts of CFEW and the representative of PEPSA for the knowledge and information shared with them. He also acknowledged that they will be available for future training and partnerships. Highlights of the events were a plastic exhibition of items made from plastic waste by Mr. Tom Ben and photograph sessions.