By Lasisi Adedoyin K.S.
Understanding The Concept Of Hawking And Street Vending
Picture this: bustling streets filled with energetic individuals, weaving through traffic with baskets on their heads and trays in their hands.
This is the world of hawking in Lagos, a unique and ubiquitous sight in the city. Hawking refers to the act of selling goods on the streets, often carried out by informal vendors who roam the city in search of customers. It’s a daily dance of survival, as these individual navigate the challenges and opportunities that comes with selling their wares on the go. Unlike hawking, street vending is the act of sell goods and offer services in broadly defined public spaces, including open-air spaces, transport junctions, sidewalks, front of public and private building etc. Street vendors and market traders are an integral part of urban economies around the world, offering easy access to a wide range of affordable goods and services in public spaces.
They sell everything from fresh vegetables to prepared foods, from building materials to garments and crafts, and from consumer electronics to everyday use items.
Significance of Hawking in Lagos
Street vending and hawking are more than just a way to make a living in Lagos. It has become deeply ingrained in the fabric of the city, shaping its identity and economy. From the early morning rush to the late hours of the night, hawkers line the sidewalks, offering a wide range of products, from snacks and beverages to household items and clothing. For many Lagosian, hawking and vending is not a problem since it serves as a means of livelihood for the low income earners in the society. Also, it’s a convenient way to access goods and services in a fast-paced urban environment especial for Lagos that is known for its rush-rush syndrome. Despite their contribution to the economy of Lagos, street vending and hawking contribute negatively to the environmental, health and occupational status of Lagos.
Street vending and hawking has a number of negative impacts.
Street vending and hawking causes: traffic congestion, environmental pollution, visual pollution and reduced food safety. Traffic congestion, difficulties in disposing of waste generated by street vendors and attracting migrant people from rural places to urban areas are the reasons given for declaring street vending and hawking illegal.
The Impact Of Hawking On Environmental Degradation In Lagos
i. Street Vending and Hawking as a Contributor to Waste Generation. With every purchase made on the streets, there comes a trail of waste. Plastic wrappers, food containers, and discarded packaging litter the sidewalks, contributing to the growing waste problem in Lagos. Hawkers, due to their on-the-go nature, often resort to single-use packaging, which further exacerbates the issue. The sheer volume of waste generated through hawking activities poses a significant challenge for environmental protection and sustainability in the city.
ii. Air and Noise Pollution from Hawking Activities
As the streets of Lagos become a marketplace, the air becomes thick with exhaust fumes from vehicles and generators, and the soundscape becomes a symphony of car horns, shouting voices, and blaring music. Hawkers add to this cacophony, as they compete for customers’ attention by vocally advertising their products. This constant noise and air pollution not only create an unpleasant urban environment but also contribute to health issues and deteriorating air quality in the city.
iii. Encroachment on Green Spaces and Natural Habitats
Lagos, like any other bustling city, struggles to balance urban development with the preservation of green spaces and natural habitats. Hawking often spills into parks, sidewalks, and even protected areas, encroaching on these valuable ecosystems. The unregulated expansion of hawking activities not only disrupt the natural balance but also limits the availability of green space for recreation and environmental conservation.
As Lagos continues to navigate the rise of hawking and its impact on environmental protection and sustainability, valuable lessons are being learned along the way. The collaborative efforts between researchers and policy maker have demonstrated the potential for positive change.
By prioritizing education, awareness, and alternative income sources, the future outlook is promising for sustainable hawking and vending practices in Lagos. Through continued innovation and collective action, the city can pave the way towards a more environmentally conscious and socially responsible hawking culture. Also it is recommended that the designation of a key contact organisation/office in charge of street vendors’ business will go a long way to reduce the menace of hawking and vending.
Also, the designation of authorised areas for street vending, based on planning regulation can be introduced and enforced. Lagos can pave the way for a more sustainable future, where hawking coexists harmoniously with the preservation of the natural environment. It is only through concerted efforts and a collective commitment to sustainability that the rise of hawking in Lagos can be effectively managed for the benefit of both its inhabitants and the environment.
Lasisi Adedoyin K.S
Host, Eko EnviroTalk Tv