Five Notts students with high hopes for Lagos

Meet the Nottingham students trying to make a big difference in Nigeria

For most Nottingham students, their biggest concerns revolve around their next night out, Urban Outfitters discounts, TOWIE and their latest Tinder hook-up. 

But these guys have got bigger things on their minds, and are trying to make a real difference to people in need situated in Lagos, South Nigeria. We spoke to Abz Tayeb, the leader of the team of five who are involved in social enterprise organization Enactus and are trying to help resolve the problem of waste in Lagos.

Waste is a serious issue in Lagos

Waste is a serious issue in Lagos

“This project aims to tackle the issue of waste in Lagos, one of the biggest issues the country is facing at the moment,” Tayeb said. “We are looking at tackling plastic bottle wastage and converting it into plastic bottle housing.

“In addition, we are looking at converting plastic bags into diesel at a much lower cost and, thirdly, utilizing food waste and converting it into fertilizers which would empower farmers.”

Tayeb said that he has experienced this problem first-hand from a young age, having been raised in Nigeria.

“I always knew that waste is a massive issue in the country,” he said. “With no laws, legislation and moral reservations preventing people from chucking their waste outside in the street, there are mountains of waste and no proper system in place to resolve the issue.

“It was only last summer when I was in Nigeria, I realised so much value can be brought out of waste. I did my research, and found the UK as one of the leading countries that upcycles and creates value out of waste.

I then contacted Enactus – a social enterprise led and run by university students based at Jubilee Campus, and we started working on this project straight away.”

One of the ways in which Tayeb and Enactus are helping is through using the waste to provide safe and environmentally friendly housing for thousands.

“With plastic bottles, we are working alongside the architecture department and we intend to convert it into plastic bottle housing – it’s a strange but cheap concept that would help people in the streets of Lagos by providing housing as well as tackling issues like Tuberculosis which are a continuous concern because of overcrowding.

“The second stream we are working on is food waste. We intend to utilize food waste and convert it into biogas which releases two products: Methane cooking gas and organic fertilizer. The cooking gas would provide a cheap and effective source of energy for household kitchens and would help cut their rising energy bills down as well as help their crops grow faster.”

The five-man team is planning on visiting Lagos this summer to conduct some more research and hopefully implement some of their short term goals like converting the waste into biogas and fertilisers. The long-term plan is to potentially tackle the issue throughout Nigeria.

“We are hugely optimistic and passionate about this,” Tayeb said. “Through student action we will be able to provide a cleaner and safer Nigeria.”

For more information, contact [email protected]