Adesoji Adeyemi-Adeloju's rather long short film on waste management in Africa could not have come at a better time, seeing as the flash floods are once more upon us here in Lagos. For many who were born and raised in the mega -city, we are well aware of how some Lagosians - in good or bad weather - dump their refuse in gutters, oblivious to the disastrous environmental degradation brought upon their community via such actions.
In THE VALUABLE WASTE, Adeyemi-Adeloju's particular choice of the ‘voice-of-God' technique combined with an almost perfect colour grading in post-production not only makes this film easy on the eyes and ears, but also clearly communicates that with collective responsibility, Africa can (and will) indeed overcome the war against waste and soon achieve a clean healthy environment.
THE VALUABLE WASTE - Teaser from ADESOJI ADEYEMI-ADEJOLU on Vimeo.
From about the first quarter of the 48-minute film, one gets the increasingly foreboding feeling that proper management of the waste situation is unattainable in Nigeria. One also gets a sense that the lorry-load of health hazards that will arise in the wake of our inaction is better imagined than experienced. We also see the extent to which Kenya and Ghana are leading the race against waste in their respective countries.
These facts are accurately communicated in a wide array of interviews with Bayo Otitoloju, a professor of Eco-Toxicology and Pollution Management at the University of Lagos; Paul O'Callaghan, C.E.O, West African ENGRG, and Abdullah Ramon Aregbe, a resident of Lagos state, amongst other respondents.
In the last quarter of THE VALUABLE WASTE though, we get renewed hope that the ‘War Against Waste' is gradually being won but from an interesting business angle. The film, from this point on, focuses on the new, nationwide impact of waste management on creating jobs not just for miscreant youth but also for a former bank executive turned waste manager, who can now boast of both job and financial security. Clear visual messages are put out repeatedly: "More waste equals more work and less miscreants on the streets"; "Save the Earth for our children unborn" and "…simultaneously smile to the bank".
Waste Management is arguably the most underrated environmental crisis facing Africa in recent times, but thankfully various endeavours in waste scavenging, recycling, and composting have opened up diverse areas that create lucrative jobs in the sector. Phrases like ‘'Waste to Wealth' and ‘Waste to energy' should, at this rate, go from mere ideologies or trending hashtags to widespread effective action.
By Wome Uyeye
First published in iREP 2017 Newsletter - Issue 1, edited by Derin Ajao, with support of iRep FilmFest and Goethe-Institut Nigeria. Courtesy iREP.