By Emma Okonji
Experts in environmental waste management has called on the federal government to consider proper waste management solution system for the country, while listing measures that could address the challenge of solid waste.
The experts raised concern that the increase in population, urbanisation and industrialisation, is creating challenge for solid waste management in Nigeria, insisting that the situation may worsen, if not tackled on time.
A group of experts from Intermarc Consulting, who raised the alarm, said contributory factors to the challenge include inadequate regulatory framework that has manifested in lack of interest of private sector investment in service delivery; uncoordinated institutional functions; low political will, low capacity to discharge duties; poor data for planning; wrong attitude of waste generators among others.
They therefore demanded for good waste management services for public health and environmental protection.
The Chief Executive Officer of Intermarc Consulting, Mr. Adeyinka Adeyemi, who led the group, said: “There is no national waste management plan in Nigeria and if any is available in any of the states it is likely it will not be substantial. Recently, a draft policy on Municipal and Agricultural Wastes was reviewed in 2011. It is hoped that the policy will lead to development of a comprehensive legislation and possibly a plan that will address the issue of waste management in the country.”
He said one major challenge in Nigeria is the enforcement and implementation of policy.
Waste management, he said, remained a growing industry in Nigeria as all stakeholders have consistently continued to worry on how to achieve a “Clean Nigeria” in a manner that is economically viable as a business.
In order to further proffer solution to waste management in Nigeria, Adeyemi said Intermarc has decided to organise a conference on waste management, with a view to sensitising government and the Nigerian populace on the dangers of solid waste.
“The objective of the conference is therefore how to ensure that Nigeria’s major cities are ranked among the cleanest cities in Africa. This ambition is developed on the back of the September 2015 sustainable development goals 6, which aims to ensure availability and sustainable sanitation for all , among other things as well as 1992 Rio declaration on environment and development,” Adeyemi said.
According to him, the SDG could only be met within the framework of revitalised global partnerships for sustainable development. However, such partnership may be elusive without cohesive nationally sustainable development strategies supported by national frameworks.
The National Waste Management Conference therefore reiterates the need for national policy as well as enforcement as a way to engender national stakeholder partnership for the overall agenda of the SDGs with the primary objective of stimulating action in the areas of critical importance such as achieving access to adequate equitable sanitation and hygiene for all to end open defecation by 2030.
At the corporate level, given increasing tons of waste, there has been a review of available policy options with conclusion that placing the responsibility for the consumer phase of certain goods on producers could be an option. Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) was therefore conceptualised as the policy approval under which producers are given a significant responsibility, financial and or physical, for the treatment or disposal of post- consumer products, Adeyemi said.
The conference, which is billed to hold in Lagos next month, provides an opportunity for professionals, researchers, government departments and local authorities to exchange ideas, information and discuss the work regarding the current situation in waste management and how best to achieve the objectives of EPR and other such policy frameworks that will translate to the achievement of the national and international declarations as well as sustainable development goals on the environment.