The idea where waste products from homes and offices are dumped indiscriminately at different dump sites without recourse to health hazards has been condemned by waste management experts.
They, therefore, advised that government and the private sector to device means to encourage proper disposal of waste in such a manner that would attract demand for waste management.
West Africa ENRG, a UK waste management company that is managing waste disposal in some parts of Nigeria, gave the advice in Lagos during the recent press conference organised by the British High Commission in Lagos, recently.
The firm stressed the need for proper waste management in the country, in order to address issues of health hazards and unemployment.
Director, West Africa ENRG, Lolade Oresanwo, told THISDAY, that most countries in Europe and America have done consistently well in waste management because the countries, including their government and private sector players, have created the demand for waste, and they have set up waste recycling companies that produce items out of waste like tissue papers, among other items.
According to her, “When people know that there is value for every waste, they will know the right channel to take their waste to. So there is need for government and the private sector to create demand for waste management and it will help to build the right culture and orientation on waste handling by people.”
Speaking about the efforts made by the UK waste management company to address waste management in Nigeria, Oresanwo said: “When our company came to Nigeria in 2013, we looked at only waste processing, but when we entered deeper into the market, we changed the narrative and expanded the focus to include waste collection, transportation and disposal. “Having realised this, we did our backward and forward integration processes to ensure that we capture all the lines of waste management along the value chain.”
She, however, said Nigeria needed more data on waste management to enable more foreign waste management companies to come into Nigeria with their expertise in waste management, and boost competition.
“The Nigerian Investment Promotion Commission (NIPC), has recognised that the country does not have enough information and data about businesses in Nigeria, which makes it difficult for investors to focus on doing business in Nigeria,” Oresanwo added.
She further said recycling of waste, for instance, remained a serious business and, “for recycling to be commercially viable, it has to be
sorted out properly and that is why we insist that it needs to be sorted out properly from the home front.
“So waste management ought to start from those that generates wastes. The culture and orientation of the people needs to change first in order to make giant and meaningful strides in the sector.”
Addressing the issue of infrastructure in waste management, Oresanwo said: “Infrastructure is key to waste management, which has to do with waste processing. Nigerian government for instance, has identified the infrastructure gap in waste management.
“Some years back, the practice about waste management was to collect waste and dump them in designated areas approved by government, and in most cases, people dump waste indiscriminately and even in drainages, which leads to blocking of several drainages in the country. But government has addressed all of that by setting up recycling initiatives on how best to manage waste.”
She, however, said government must do more in the area of reducing the cost of transportation of waste. Lagos State has taken the lead in waste management by reducing the number of waste sites in the state and ensuring that waste are properly recycled in the state, she said.