By Bennett Oghifo
N igeria will benefit economically from proper waste management infrastructure and practices if the right policies are instituted by government.
The Chief Executive Officer, Visionscape Sanitation Solutions, Mr. John Irvine, who stated this in Lagos yesterday, explained that wealth creation and developing sustainable infrastructure would promote growth in the environmental industry.
Irvine said green economy is of global importance and that it would empower those at the bottom of the value chain. â€œIt allows citizens to finally be a part of the solution by taking responsibility for their immediate environment, while empowering them financially, with multiplier effect of disposable income trickling down to their immediate communities.â€
He said the governmentâ€™s sustainability goals would be enhanced through the benefits of mass employment that would emanate from the efforts to grow the recycling and recovery industry.
â€œSocio-economically, this shift must benefit the communities and the people. The environmental benefits of developing sufficient infrastructure that helps us manage waste are automatic, but more rewarding for us as a company is being able to pay livable wages, offer benefits and provide safe working conditions to our workers. Green jobs are the future. Our focus is to do good business, while doing good and injecting good jobs into the markets, and knowledge transfer is a critical success factor,â€ Irvine said.
Visionscape Sanitation Solutions has stated the construction of the first engineered landfill in Nigeria. The Epe landfill, located in the northern side of Lagos State, opened in 2009.
He said, â€œToday, the landfill essentially runs as a dumpsite, and is home to approximately 300 waste miners, receiving 30% of 13,000+ tons of waste generated daily across the state, ranging from industrial to medical and residential waste.â€
According to him, â€œThe over-capacity Olusosun dumpsite, at Ojota, was initially closed in December 2017. Fraught with challenges such as insufficient road access for waste collection trucks and no management of the disposal process on the site, it had become a major cause for concern, however, the lack of an accessible sanitary landfill resulted in the continued use of the dumpsite, which led to the March 2018 fire.â€
He said high on their priority list, even as the smoke from Olusosun still rises, was the focus on the infrastructure required to manage waste effectively, as well as develop the manpower and skills required internally to manage the innovative solutions. The company, he said â€œwill incorporate the marginalised; mostly residents on the landfill who depend on the informal recycling sector. The Epe EcoPark will feature a materials recovery facility, an anaerobic digestion plant, a waste to energy plant amongst other features.â€