By Job Osazuwa
Towards ensuring a clean environment, and at the same time creating job opportunities for the people, an oil and gas servicing company, Century Group, has trained ten young Nigerians on how to recycle waste materials and make clean money.
In its 2020 Health, Safety and Environment (HSE) summit, the company stated that the focus of the empowerment programme was to beam the light on the revenue generating potential for all stakeholders in the neglected area, and therefore harnessing the best value available.
In partnership with the Lagos State Ministry of Environment, the group reiterated its commitment to raising awareness to spur a shift in HSE culture and practices across industries. This is in line with the United Nations’ goal on climate change and ending single use of plastic and other forms of waste materials.
While presenting the certificates to the trainees in Lagos, the Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of Century Group, Mr Ken Etete said that the move would not only create job opportunities for many Nigerians, but enhance sustainability for existing businesses.
He stated that apart from raising entrepreneurs, the company was also concerned about the safety of Nigerians as they go about their day-to-day activities. He pointed out that safety was everybody’s business that must not be treated with levity.
“This is beyond corporate social responsibility for us. It is time people began to understand that HSE is for their own interest. We are doing this so that they can view it as a way to earn a decent living and improve the environment for the good of everyone.
“It is sad that anytime we look at the streets we see materials that could be turned to wealth, but are there constituting nuisance to the environment and health challenge to the people.
“We are particularly happy that despite this coronavirus pandemic year, we were able to achieve this. We hope to expand this gesture by next year so that more people could benefit. I congratulate all the beneficiaries for their commitment throughout the trainings,” he said.
The CEO added that the participants were trained on how to source and transform all forms of waste products to commercial materials.
A member of Researchers Association of Nigeria (RAN), Mr Adewole Taiwo, who trained the participants, said that out of the millions of plastic items thrown into the dumpsite, drainages and river on daily basis, only 30 per cent were retrieved and recycled.
“We are now afraid that in the nearest future, we might begin to bring out plastic from the river instead of fish. Most of the fish we eat now contain some amount of plastic.
“I trained them on how to collect waste products, which is one of the core area of recycling business. I also trained them on feasibility study and what it requires to get a loan from the bank.
“Plastics are used to make weave-on, shoes, t-shirt, carpet, rug and other products. Billions of these raw materials have been wasted over the years.
“But with the way more awareness is being created, people might soon be hanging around waiting for whoever is drinking a bottle water so that they can pick it when he throws it away,” Taiwo said.
Appreciating his benefactor, one of the trainees, Victor Chiemeke, a fresh graduate, expressed gratitude to God for being one of the lucky participants.
He said that the exposure has given him a new orientation that he doesn’t need to start combing the streets for a white-collar job, but to tap into the various opportunities in the recycling business.
He was optimistic that he would soon begin to employ people as an entrepreneur.
Also thanking Century Group and her trainer, Olasumbo Felicia, who joined the event virtually, described the training as an eye-opener for her.
She said that she never thought that waste recycling was a serious and lucrative business that could create millions of jobs, and at the same time improve the lives of people in the community.