Business Ideas

Managing Urban Wastes Profitably

Managing Urban Wastes Profitably

The waste dump is not the most likely place to find a smartly dressed corporate-looking lady. This is so because of the mountain of garbage, the very offensive odour oozing out and the occasional smoke bellowing from the belly of crust of the earth.

You are likely to see custodians of the dump and young men accompany trucks to discharge the contents of their vehicles.
Add to that the irritable scavengers, who eek out a living on a daily basis from the waste dump, and the different animals and birds that see it as the best avenue to get food on a platter of gold.

But when you see a smartly dressed lady not only directing affairs on a landfill site, but climbs onto a heavy duty equipment to drive it and move level heaps of garbage, then you are sure to marvel.

This was the case of Mrs. Kemi Oni, a lawyer and environmental consultant, who mounted the giant Tana full-width twin compaction drums equipment at the Olusosun dumpsite in Ojota, Lagos recently to demonstrate the efficacy of the equipment in the management of landfill sites to the top hierarchy of the state government.

Governor Babatunde Fashola could not help but marvel at the boldness of the woman and the ease with which she handled the equipment as well as the efficiency of the operation that he immediately ordered for two more of the equipment for use at landfill sites across the state.

In the past, Lagos had assumed a notoriety of being one of the dirtiest places on planet earth with mountains of refuse littering everywhere and constituting an eyesore with the attendant health hazards.

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Oni says her investing in waste management is not a misplaced priority contrary to insinuations in some quarters.

According to her, waste managers in other countries are one of the richest people, noting that the experience in Nigeria is not the same but she is optimistic that the country will get there.

Oni, whose company, Multipurpose Oil Services & Supplies, has a subsidiary that acts as private sector waste collectors for highbrow Ikoyi, Lagos, says that the business of waste management requires a lot of expertise and the right equipment.

She says that a clean environment will engender good health for the citizens and help the country to attract foreign investors and international tourists.

Following from her extensive travels all over the world, she realised that investment in waste management has its rewards, if not immediately, but on the long run.

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This much she is trying to promote locally by spreading the gospel of the profitability of proper waste management techniques using the right equipment to governments, individuals and corporate bodies.

Another company, Kojol Engineering Company Limited, recently got an exclusive franchise as the sole representative of the biggest landfill management equipment manufacturers in the world, Tana OY of Finland.

The partnership involves the marketing and sale of Tana range of compactors and other landfill management equipment.

Kojol has already supplied the Lagos State Government with two of the equipment, while orders have been placed for three more, but Oni insists that the state requires six of such equipment to effectively manage garbage. Depending on the size and capacity, the equipment’s prices range from 600 euros.

Oni says, We are already talking to the Federal Government, the Federal Capital Territory Administration and other states of the federation with a view to convincing them that we have the technology to manage our urban wastes.

The equipment, she says, will break down wastes into tiny particles, give more airspace by maximising land space at the landfill, improves the turnaround time of waste evacuation trucks and the operational efficiency of PSP operators and eradicate the long queues of vehicles waiting to discharge wastes at the site.

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The essence of the new technology is to level the surface of the landfill site by burying the garbage in layers, thus, eliminating unpleasant sighting of wastes, offensive odour and the constant smoke that bellows from the soil as a result of the chemical combination of butane gas and air.

Oni is also leading the campaign to turn wastes into valuable items through the shredding of used tyres, rubbers and plastics into useful particles for the manufacturing of other items, while also canvassing for the separation of wastes into different categories by households.

On the problems being encountered by the PSP operators, Oni says, PSP operators in Lagos are the least paid in the world, but we are doing it because of our commitment to our environment. Most of us lack the necessary equipment like trucks because the cost is much and the banks are not willing to grant us loans, whereas waste management is a very profitable business if well handled.

By Akinpelu Dada

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