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Waste Crisis should be curbed in Nigeria

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By Mercy Kelani

Dumping refuse without regard is a major contributor to pollution in Nigeria

An analysis of the obstacles preventing Nigeria from effectively implementing waste management strategies was carried out, as the country participated in the global observance of International Day for Zero-waste. Dumping refuse without regard is a major contributor to the pollution of Nigeria’s environment. People frequently seek solace by improperly discarding plastic bags filled with trash in unauthorized locations such as roads, rivers, and bushes. While there is a lack of data regarding how many Nigerians are abiding by anti-improper waste disposal laws, previous media reports indicate that more environmental offenders are being arrested and convicted in the country.

According to a study conducted in 2022 by the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), Nigeria produces more than 32 million metric tons of waste every year. The study revealed that Nigeria is one of the leading countries, ranking among the top 20, responsible for contributing approximately 83 percent of land-based plastic waste that eventually reaches the oceans. According to a report from the World Bank, on average every Nigerian produces 0.51 kilograms of waste per day. The report also predicts that the total amount of waste in the nation will increase to 107 million tonnes by the year 2050.

State gov’ts have implemented strategies to tackle reckless waste disposal.

Nigeria was rated 126th globally, making it the 10th highest-ranking country in Africa, for its management of controlled solid waste from households and businesses to minimize environmental hazards, receiving a score of 16.70. The measurement of waste management includes the proper disposal of solid waste through methods such as recycling, composting, anaerobic digestion, incineration, or landfilling, categorizing it as controlled waste. Nigeria was placed at 152nd position (21st from the bottom in Africa) in a different assessment by the EPI, receiving a score of 12.70 for waste management.

On the other hand, numerous environmental experts and onlookers have criticized the prevalent issue of careless trash disposal, attributing it to the inadequate environmental regulations in the nation. Conversely, a few others have pointed fingers at public attitudes, lack of awareness, and economic hardships for the surge in improper waste management. According to investigations, numerous state governments have implemented strategies to control reckless waste disposal. However, a large portion of the population continues to disregard these efforts and freely partakes in such activities.

Low funding for waste management was also identified as a challenge.

The investigation revealed that in the year 2024, a total of 19 individuals were apprehended by the Oyo State government for committing environmental violations across different regions of the state. This information was disclosed by the Oyo State Commissioner for Environment and Natural Resources, Abdulmojeed Mogbonjubola. The commissioner reiterated that individuals from the community who are found improperly discarding waste in unauthorized locations will face a penalty of either a fine totalling 110,000 or a month of community service.

Oluwafemi Sarumi, an environmental health officer, spoke about the negative impact of environmental practices in Nigeria. He outlined obstacles to effective waste disposal, such as poverty, lack of proper law enforcement, ignorance, unsanitary habits, and inadequate waste management infrastructure. Low funding for waste management was also identified as a challenge. In order to address the waste crisis, it is essential for humanity to view waste not as a problem, but as a valuable resource. This involves actively decreasing the amount of waste produced and embracing a lifecycle approach.

Related Article: Over ₦500BN Lost to Improper Waste Management

Recycling and reusing resources whenever possible, creating long-lasting products with minimal environmental impact, and implementing upstream solutions can help reduce pollution and preserve earth’s precious natural resources. Creating waste-free communities necessitates collaboration from all stakeholders at every level. It is important for individuals to adjust their consumption patterns by utilizing products for a longer period before discarding them. In addition, it is crucial for governments, communities, industries, and other involved parties to enhance financial support and policy implementation to address the waste crisis that particularly affects disadvantaged groups like the marginalized, urban poor, women, and young people.

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