Unless one has not been noticing within cities and towns in the country, the gradual reduction in the deposit of metal scraps and plastic wastes. People now pack poly ethylene terephthalate (PET) bottles and sell. In one of our previous articles, we identified poor recycling system as a major cause of environmental pollution in Nigeria. The awakening of some business persons, who believes in converting wastes to wealth, and the establishment of recycling industries, especially, metal scraps recycling industries, has turned the country’s dumping sites to wealth sites.
To start with, recycling has many benefits and with the inventions of new technologies which make more materials to be easily recycled, a clean and beautiful environment can be achieved. Recycling does not help in getting a clean environment alone, but also contribute to the economy of the nation and individuals, which is what Nigerians now benefit.
As an environmental analyst, I wanted to conduct a research on recycling used PET bottles, but from my survey, I discovered that the cost of recycling is more than the cost of producing, because of the lack of simple technology then, around 2019. Early this year, I saw people packing PET bottles and drinking water (popularly called pure water) nylon, so this prompted my inquisitiveness to the reason for the act. Alas! It was discovered that these materials are being sold and exported.
One thousand gram of PET bottles sell for #25 – #30 depending on location and buyer, as the contacted buyer claimed that he uses Lagos sea port for his export. Some poor citizens and children go to party and event venues to pack these bottles and call their buyers, even before getting to the dumping sites. Cleaners at schools are not left out, as this adds to their income. At dumping sites, some people are already there waiting for these materials. Another surprising thing about this business is that covers are sold differently from the bottles, because they are made of different plastic materials. Our research found that the cost per kilogram of the cover is times ten of the cost of the bottle.
Despite the fact the country is getting cleaner of PET bottle pollution, people earn money from it. However, it is disheartening that only the covers are recycled or used for other purposes in Nigeria while the itself is exported abroad. Does it mean the country does not have the strength to build her own PET bottle recycling plant? Establishing this will contribute to the human and the nation’s economy development. A plastic buyer old us that these materials are exported to China and Germany.