The Alumni Association of the International Visitors Leadership Programme (IVLP) of the U.S Consulate in Nigeria on Thursday embarked on the cleanup of the Alamutu Market in Mushin, Lagos.
The group said the project, tagged, ‘The Marketplace Cleanup,’ is part of their contribution to the local community.
IVLP is an international exchange program organised to foster mutual understanding between the U.S. and other nations through short-term visits to the U.S.
In addition to cleaning of the market, the group sensitised the traders on waste management, waste separation, recycling, and upcycling.
Adetoun Tade, the IVLP president, Lagos chapter, said the association is committed to improving the quality of lives of Nigerians.
According to her, the marketplace cleanup is a grassroots project of the alumni association to create sustainable impacts at the grassroots.
“Cleaning our markets is one of the things we have added to our line of events. Going around Lagos markets, we see that people come a lot, but we see a lot of dirts around,” said Mrs Tade.
The alumni members during the cleanup exercise.
“It is so easy to blame the market people and label them dirty, but coming in to talk to them, we realise that they are facing some challenges. We are here to teach them that throwing their refuse indiscriminately is not the best solution.”
The group partnered with non-governmental agencies such as recycling alliance, FABE, susty vibes, Mushin to the World and others.
The market traders were taught how to properly package their wastes, separate the useful ones and those that can be recycled to generate income.
They were also trained on how to convert some waste materials into useful items in the market, such as chairs made from plastic bottles.
Temitope Okunnu, the Chief Executive Officer of Fabe International Foundation, said advocacy for a cleaner and better environment is essential.
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“If the market is dirty and we hear a lot of diseases here and there, there is an ever-increasing concern about how diseases can be transmitted from the market into individual homes.”
“We need to sensitize the market people, they need to be hygienically inclined, they need to keep their environment clean and how their waste can be sorted for upcycling or recycling purpose,” she said.
The group said cleaning the environment is a part of their contribution to the community.
“We see a lot of potentials in the market, given that they sell majorly foodstuffs, waste from food items can be converted into compost, compost is a rich fertiliser that gardeners and farmers can use.”
While doing the waste audit after the cleanup, Mrs Okunnu said there were a lot of plastic bottles, and sachet bags which can be recycled for benefits.
The market people were taken through a practical session on how items like plastic bottles can be converted into chairs that the traders can sit on for their business.