WAPAN Highlights Vital Role in Nigeria’s $100 Billion Waste Economy
By Faridat Salifu
The Waste Pickers Association of Nigeria (WAPAN) is on a mission to spotlight the invaluable role of waste pickers in Nigeria’s booming $100 billion waste economy.
In a recent meeting held in Abuja, President Com. Salisu Ali Yarima outlined WAPAN’s commitment to changing the perception of waste collection in the country and revamping the waste management industry.
WAPAN, a non-profit organization, is actively engaged in registering waste pickers and collectors from all corners of Nigeria on its online platform. With over 5,000 waste pickers already registered, their ambitious goal is to organize and empower at least 250,000 waste pickers across the nation by the first quarter of next year, with an ultimate vision of reaching one million by year-end.
One of the pressing challenges WAPAN is addressing, especially in Abuja, is the plight of waste pickers and waste-related businesses who have suffered due to the recent demolition and destruction of waste resources by government authorities. While acknowledging the importance of urban planning and regulatory compliance, WAPAN is advocating for a more humane and respectful approach, emphasizing the need for constructive dialogues instead of abrupt demolitions, particularly in areas where their members operate.
The Association is gearing up to hold its first National Waste Pickers Conference in early 2024, a significant event that aims to shed light on the critical contributions of waste pickers to the waste economy. WAPAN’s mission extends beyond advocacy; they are committed to creating a sustainable, inclusive, and supportive ecosystem for these hardworking informal workers, most of whom are young individuals, within the waste management value chain.
In a country with a waste economy worth over $100 billion, WAPAN’s efforts are poised to uplift not only waste pickers but also waste-related businesses, ultimately benefiting the broader Nigerian society. This story underscores the importance of recognizing the unsung heroes of waste management and the potential for positive change in this vital sector of the economy.