There’s a huge issue with waste management in Africa.
The continent alone produces about 550 million tonnes of plastic waste with the major contributions coming from the countries of Egypt, Nigeria, and the South African region. They rank seventh, ninth, and eleventh on the list of 20 major polluters, reports Face2Face Africa.
While several attempts have been made by African leaders to tackle plastic waste, they have all come up short. In Ghana, for example, attempts to ban plastic bags were met with huge resistance much like in Nigeria and Kenya.
Nigeria native, Bilikiss Adebiyi-Abiola is on a mission to continue the fight against plastic waste by establishing recycling plants.
A graduate of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Bilikiss Adebiyi-Abiola returned to her home after 13 years in the U.S. to venture into plastic waste management.
In 2012, she founded WeCyclers, after learning more about the issues of waste as a problem in Africa during her MIT days. She noticed that entrepreneurs invited by the school to engage with students mostly centered their discussions around Africa.
It was then that she decided that she would become a part of Africa’s solution and not its problem through her business.
With one bicycle, she began to collect waste throughout the streets of Lagos, Nigeria’s capital, inviting others to bring their plastic waste to her for a fee.
Today, WeCyclers is one of the largest waste management companies in West Africa with over 300 employees, providing over 400 indirect jobs.
“Getting people to understand the module, getting people to support us was really hard,” said Bilikiss Adebiyi-Abiola in an interview with vlogger Wode Maya.
On the other hand, she says that the Lagos State government has been very supportive of her business while investors continue to lag.
For more on Wecycle, watch the full interview below: