Adedayo Akinwale in Abuja
The United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO), has called on the federal government to speedily and effectively implement draft national policy on solid waste management.
It said that the draft policy had been developed through a collaborative and inclusive method, as it recognised that everyone was involved in solid waste generation and had an idea of the topic.
The Country Representative and Director for West Africa, Dr. Jean Bakole stated this in Abuja at a one day National Stakeholders’ Workshop for the review and validation of draft national policy on solid waste management in Nigeria
He noted that solid waste was a global problem which needed an effective and economic strategy, adding that countries were faced with increasing challenge of managing their solid waste and with an increasing global population, generation of solid waste was bound to increase.
Quoting a UNEP report, Bakole stressed that bulk density for residential waste of some countries were taken and compared and Nigeria recorded 250kg/m3 as against 330 for Egypt, 150 for UK, 100 US, 400-600 for India and 400 for Indonesia
Bakole stated: “We also recognise the role of state governments if the national policy is to be successful. It may look like a straight forward subject but I can tell you getting to this point was not particularly easy.
“The policy has been developed to recognise private sector participation and will help to guide investment in solid was management, identify the key stakeholders, build an effective institutional structure, job creation and it linkages to global environmental treaties.
“To ensure the success of this policy, there must be political will, adequate data, private sector involvement, encourage research and development, aggressive drive, a realistic action plan and effective enforcement drive.”
“Nigeria is a leader in Africa and it must demonstrate its leadership through the effective implementation of this policy. It is time to put our hands on the ploughing and spot opportunities,” he said.
Bakole also reaffirm UNIDO’s commitment towards supporting the Nigerian government to promote inclusive and sustainable industrialisation development without compromising the environment.
On his part, the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Environment, Dr. Sheu Ahmed said the workshop was expected to validate and finalise the policy document aimed at addressing the issue of sustainable allied waste management in Nigeria.
He stressed that it was common knowledge that waste disposal rather than waste management was prevalent in Nigeria and this involves co-disposal of general and hazardous wastes on land, water bodies, roads and uncontrolled and open burning.
Ahmed lamented that the practices portend serious danger to the environment, health and also retard economic development.
The permanent secretary stressed that the policy should be able to promote among others; waste reduction at source, recylce and reuse as the best option for solid waste management in Nigeria to promote resource conservation and environmental protection.
He added that the policy should also promote private sector participation and investment including Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in waste management as government alone cannot continue to handle the issue of solid waste management and active participation of all including the citizenry, corporate bodies among others.
Ahmed therefore stressed the government’s readiness to work with relevant stakeholders to develop actionable work plans to drive implementation of the policy.