Waste Management consists of the framework involved in the entire management of waste:
Including the collection, transportation, sorting, treatment, disposal and monitoring of the entire process in a way that renders it harmless to human and animal life, the ecology and our environment in general. The World Bank noted that in 2012, the world cities were generating about 1.3 billion tonnes of solid waste per year and this is expected to rise to about 2.2 billion tonnes by 2025 (non-solid waste not included in the calculation).
Waste which comprises of several types including food, agricultural, plastics, liquid, domestic, gaseous, industrial, sewage, medical, chemical, animal, residual, and e-waste among others and also categorized as solid-sludge, organic-non organic, dry-wet, recyclable –non recyclable has over the years had little attention given to it but as the number of the world population started growing rapidly, industrialization evolving fast and urbanization on the rise leading to the percentage generation of waste to grow very fast, nations have now placed great attention on the management of their waste and the environmental sector in general, even though some (majorly low-middle income countries) are still at the struggling stage, with international bodies having to intervene so as to avert serious health and environmental disasters.
In Nigeria, managing waste disposal is now a major concern despite several attempts by successive governments and private organisations in that direction and that is why it is a common sight across the country today to see heaps of festering waste dumps (black spots) in almost every nooks and crannies. Residential apartments, markets, waterways, highways streets and undeveloped plots of land have been turned into waste dumps for many households and business entities, no wonder many are saying that in Nigeria, while waste increases in a geometrical progression, the collection and disposal is either stagnant or declining by the day.
Several factors are responsible for poor waste disposal management in Nigeria and it includes lack of adequate funding, lack of required machines/equipments and well trained hands to help maintain and keep them good to standard, excessive population, lack of comprehensive legal framework and poor enforcement of regulations. Until these challenges are properly, boldly and diligently addressed by relevant authorities and individuals, managing waste disposal will remain a nightmare and recurring decimal in Nigeria.
Waste Generation in Nigeria:
Till now, various figures and information has emerged on waste generation and it composition in Nigeria but due to poor data system, most if not all of it are unverifiable. While Solid waste generation rate was found to vary from 0.13 kg/capita/day in Ogbomosho to 0.71 kg/capita/day in Ado-Ekiti (C Nnaji 2015) and 1.45kg/capita/day in Port Harcourt (D.N. Ogbonna et al 2007), Kaduna at 0.2kg/capita/day and Kano at 1.7kg/capita/day (N.Aliyu 2009). Recently, the Lagos State Waste Management Authority noted that the state generates about 13,000 metric tonnes daily (Vanguard Newspaper 28 August 2015) and Ibadan now does about 2000 metric tonnes daily. While well over 80% of this waste generated constitutes food, plastic/bottles, cans, nylons, diapers and the likes, most of this waste are recyclable materials, while others are valuable raw materials for energy generation etc. which can in turn contribute a lot (directly or indirectly) to the GDP of our economy.
Although Ghana is said to have the largest e-waste around the world, a study by the Basel Convention Coordinating Centre for Africa in 2009 reveals that 70% of all imports were used electronic electrical equipment of which about 30% could be described as E-Waste and the question is “why should we continue to bring in other people’s waste into our own continent/country while payment through the ”end of life producer responsibility” for most of this products has already made to the foreign nations where this waste are been imported from.”
The generation and disposal of waste is an intrinsic part of any developing or industrial society. Waste from domestic, commercial and industrial sources has grown significantly in Nigeria over the past decade. The percentage of Nigeria’s population living in cities and urban areas has more than doubled in the last 10 years, which contributes to enormous generation of municipal solid and liquid waste and the management of this waste is a matter of national and international concern. The volume of waste does not actually constitute the problem but the ability or inability of the government, individuals and waste disposal firms to keep up with the task of managing waste and the environment. There is no doubt that a dirty environment affects the standard of living, aesthetic sensibilities, health of the people and thus the quality of their lives.
The corollary is that improper disposal or storage of this waste can constitute hazards to the society through the pollution of air, land and especially water. It will be seen that Nigeria has not done well in the direction of tackling the menace of waste. This is even in the face of advanced management strategies existing today for waste management strategies existing today for waste management which have been adopted in many places. We have failed to understand/appreciate the social, economic and environmental advantages and benefits of proper waste management at all levels. We now need to put heads together and proffer suggestions/solutions that will assist in addressing this issue that seems to be aborting most efforts of international organizations, the federal government, city authorities, states and professionals alike.
These Challenges includes:
- Lack of Adequate Funding and Excessive Population
- Lack of Trained/Professional Waste Managers
- Lack of Modern Technology/lethargy in Implementing Efficient Waste Management Methods
- Lack of comprehensive legal framework and enforcement of the existing regulations
- Low investment in infrastructure
- Lack of trust in the system by private sectors
- Inadequate human capacity for administrative and technical issues
- Wrong attitude of the public towards solid waste disposal
- Cost recovery is low in most States and no funding
- Low data management and uncontrolled urbanization
- Uncoordinated institutional functions
- Low academic research and industry linkages
- Lack of the needed political will
The way Forward:
Much of the efforts at waste management are by state governments and local authorities. These may be direct (as in some states) and or through government – private sector partnership or wholly through privatized schemes but recently, a couple of NGO’s and more importantly young citizens have sprung up, identifying and attempting to solve them even though faced by the several challenges as earlier listed. Thus, the following points could be some of the ways to get moving on this issue:
- Improved funding of government departments or sanitation boards and better contracts with private participants responsible for domestic waste management would go a long way at assisting them to procure better and more advanced equipment for waste collection and disposal. More funds in their hands would also make for the training of their staff and better staff motivation.
- The ministries of Environment, other involved agencies and local authorities should strengthen their training programme for the managerial staff, inspectorate/monitoring staff and enlightenment teams. This would enhance effective monitoring/ control of waste from collection to disposal and also equip them better to be able to enlighten the populace.
- The European ideology that the producer of waste should pay if introduced may reorientate Nigerians’ attitude towards their environment. Every household, markets, hospitals, hotels, industries, schools and even the government parastatals to be made responsible for the proper keeping and disposal of their own waste through the legal means.
- Competitive tendering for waste collection and disposal contracts would ensure that the technically qualified contractors and committed contractors are taken on, even though the government will have to give full protection of job safety and compliance to such contractors to ensure their efforts yield good returns too because waste management business does not only require being able to turn over funds easily but also fantastic motivation to keep the work chain moving smoothly.
- Develop and enforce international standard laws on Waste Management and Control as this will not only help boost the confidence of private investors but will ensure that the sector sees a considerable increase in the compliance rate around the country. In summary, there is the need to look beyond the challenges and collaborate on finding sustainable solutions that are viable in our local environment. We need to involve innovative and socially responsible young maids as well as encourage brilliant entrepreneurs who have interest in this sector going forward. The 3 R’s rule of Reduce, Reuse and Recycle must be a major focus in our schools, homes, offices and communities, while our government needs to take the issue of waste management in particular and environmental sector in general very seriously, we all must also be ready to play our own parts as citizens to ensure we attain a very healthy, safe and clean environment for all.
Alluvia Unique Concepts Limited.
Founder: EET Foundation.
At Alluvia UC, we are interested in environmental development