Lagos’s garbage entrepreneurs are cleaning up. Adeyemi Adelekan explains.
While growing up in a small suburban community in Lagos state, I was accustomed to hearing people with carts and sacks calling out to households willing to sell used or unwanted wares. Sometimes clanging iron scrap, they would shout: “Onigo de o” (bottle buyers are here) or “Awan ra ke o” (we buy plastics).
Nearby, there were several pop-up shops where artisans restored damaged products and small retail outlets sold second-hand items. Waste pickers were a common sight as they scavenged bins and Lagos’s growing number of landfill sites for anything useful. They had an organised network from which they traded recyclable waste materials