Material Recovery from Wastes: An Employment and Poverty Alleviation Tool
Waste management is not only about removing waste from the environment but also a tool of social integration and economic well-being. Waste management through the three Rs offers advantages of employment, sustainable development and poverty alleviation. The environment requires attention because it is rapidly degrading amidst dwindling natural resources, mounting amounts of wastes while poverty continues to increase. This paper focused on material recovery from wastes through recovery, re-use, and recycling of municipal solid wastes in the north- eastern city of Maiduguri in Nigeria over a period of 24 months between 2011 and 2013. Three waste management scenarios were thought of and adopted within 7 groups made of the major wards, areas of the Maiduguri metropolis and the University of Maiduguri; involving 5000 respondents/participants working under waste collection outfits or operating at open dump areas. Data obtained were analyzed using simple statistical methods. Findings revealed an annual estimate of the recovery as 16.8 tons of bottles/glasses, 158.4 tons of plastics/rubber, and 264 tons of metal. It also indicated that considerable amount of money could be made from material recovery and recycling=N=97,600 was made from the sales of bottles/glasses, =N= 652,800 from plastic/rubber and =N= 1,408,000 from sales of scrap metals. Material recovery, re-use and recycling have many economic and material benefits. They also constitute human capacity development schemes. These recoverables have paved great means of livelihood to many people involved in this activity. There is need for support from either government or private sector.