Nigeria’s ‘waste museum’ shows waste can be turned into wealth

Jumoke Olowookere’s latest works are made from used vehicle tires painted red, yellow and green. The creations join a collection of plastic, fabric, wine corks, corn husks and other waste materials in what is being called the “Waste Museum” in Nigeria.

Olowookere said the Museum is the first of its kind in Africa. She is one of a growing number of Nigerians who are using waste materials to make art and clothes. Their work draws attention to the harmful effects of waste on the environment.

At the recent opening ceremony of the Ibadan City Museum, she said, “With the waste museum, we are highlighting the value of waste.

“We want people to see how waste can be turned into wealth. Our ultimate the objective is to ensure that no waste enters the dump –– a zero-waste future is possible,” she added.

Museum idea

Olowookere said she got the idea for a museum when she saw the amount of trash coming from her home. She started collecting trash while reading about how to reduce and recycle trash. Recycling is a process of making something new out of something that has already been used.

With support from the United States African Development Foundation, the Waste Museum was born.

Olowookere said she collected litter from people’s homes for her work. And it also manufactures equipment for playgrounds for children in school, called playgrounds. Works by other artists are also on display at the museum. He understands furniture and building materials made from old car tires and jewelry made from bottle caps.

Jumoke Olowookere speaks to children at a school as she prepares them to repaint a playground made of waste tires in Ibadan, Nigeria on February 22, 2022. (REUTERS/Temilade Adelaja)

The “Waste Museum” also offers environmental education and helps women and youth in underserved communities learn recycling skills. Upcycling reuses waste to create a new product.

Concerns about waste, pollution

Nigeria is Africa’s largest oil producer. Moreover, it has more than 200 million inhabitants. Plastic waste, such as leftover bags and food and drink containers, is commonly dumped in the streets and other public places. Throwing trash in public spaces and the environment is called littering.

A lot of waste in Nigeria ends up in the waterways that lead to the Gulf of Guinea, an area of ​​the Atlantic Ocean. This has raised concerns about the amount of plastic entering the sea.

Olowookere told Reuters: “We have a long way to go to get to this. sustainable world without waste. We need to stand up and take responsibility for our waste. Stop dirtying the world with your trash.

I am Gregory Stachel.

Seun Sanni reported this story for Reuters. Gregory Stachel adapted it for VOA Learning English with additional input from the United States African Development Foundation.

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words in this story

Museum – nm a building in which interesting and valuable things (such as paintings and sculptures or scientific or historical objects) are collected and presented to the public

showcase – v. to show (something or someone) in an attractive or favorable way

ultimate – adj. occurring or coming at the end of a process or series of events

dump – nm an area where waste is buried under the ground

furniture – nm chairs, tables, beds and other items used to make a room ready for use

sustainable – adj. involving methods that do not completely deplete or destroy natural resources

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