NIGERIA: "Pakam", the mobile application for waste recycling in Lagos

While plastic pollution affects the soil and water bodies in Nigeria, the government of this West African country is encouraging the start-up Pakam Technology whose mobile application "Pakam" has been contributing to waste recycling in Lagos State since 2019.

Lagos without plastic pollution. This is the motto of the mobile application “Pakam” which promotes waste recycling in the economic capital of Nigeria. “The recycling value chain is a business opportunity for collectors, aggregators, buyers as well as recyclers,” Adeleye Odebunmi, the CEO of Pakam Technology, said recently at the start-up’s third anniversary.

To use <Pakam> , all you need is an internet connection on your smartphone . The application offers a command that allows users, especially Lagos residents, to plan the day and indicate the location for their waste collection. Another alternative option allows two or more households to join together to order a collective collection of their household waste. The final step offers < Pakam> subscribers the opportunity to earn money after each collection they make of their waste.

With Nigeria dumping 200,000 tonnes of plastic waste into the ocean per year according to the World Economic Forum, the Director General of the Lagos Waste Management Authority (LAWMA) welcomes the contribution of this technological solution to the fight against marine pollution. “We are promoting source separation of waste in all households. From October 1, 2022, every household must have a waste bin. We will place reduction notices on houses and by January 2023, a private company will establish a bottle recycling facility in Lagos,” says Ibrahim Odumboni.

Multiple initiatives

Following the example of ‘Pakam’, other similar initiatives are underway for sustainable waste management in Nigeria. This is the case with the mobile application “Wura”. The platform launched by Nigerian entrepreneur Damilola Kadiri already has 354 subscribers who upload their items (clothes, books, shoes or jewellery) for free, for possible reuse. These users can also receive real-time information on the reduction of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions when they dispose of their items responsibly.

Then there is the start-up Kaltani. The start-up led by Nigerian engineer Obi Charles Nnanna recently announced that it would raise $4 million (N1.6 billion) to set up 20 plastic waste collection units in 10 states across Nigeria. Kaltani’s main plant based in Lagos converts plastics into polyethylene terephthalate (PET) flakes, which are then pelletised into polypropylene (PP) pellets that are eventually sold to consumer goods companies for thermoforming, sheeting, packaging, bottling and fibre applications.

Afrik21: By Benoit-Ivan Wansi