What to expect from the
Last week marked the start of inauguration of the inaugural annual National Waste Management Conference at the Civic Centre, Victoria Island, Lagos. The conference is accessible to all, and should provide a safe space for professionals, researchers, environmental experts as well as governmental authorities to come together and discuss the best ways of managing Nigerian waste. In the longer term, the hope is that the conference will help ensure that Nigeria’s main cities are ranked among the cleanest cities in Africa.
It is in response to the challenges of waste management in Nigeria as concerns over a rising population, urbanisation and industrialisation have created unprecedented levels of waste. The conference was pushed forward by experts at Intermac Consulting who believe that insufficient regulation, a lack of private sector funding, poor political desire as well as limited data have all contributed to a worrying scenario that could see Nigeria have far more waste than it is able to cope with. The hope is that this conference will raise awareness as to the current concerns and particularly incentivize private companies to seize the opportunity to transform waste management into a viable profit making business. There is also a suggestion that private companies may be forced to accept some level of responsibility for the treatment or disposal of post-consumer products.
It also hopes to find ways to education the Nigerian populace with an aim to end all open defecation by 2030.
However, Nigeria is not the only developing country to be taking waste management far more seriously. Last week, India hosted a ‘Regional Conference’ in Chennai. With attendees including the Supreme Court Judge Justice as well as high Court Chief Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul the focus was on the environment. However, there was certainly an emphasis on the future of waste management. Of the four sessions, two were focused on waste management – Pollution and waste management – policy perspectives specifically on solid waste management’ and ‘Industrial pollution – role of regulatory authorities.’ One presentation of particular note was made Vellore Srinivasan (the founder of Indian Green service) and who stated that if garbage was collected within the first six hours, it wouldn’t even be waste and could be used as fresh raw materials. Meanwhile, another speaker declared that Chennai had a huge waste management problem, producing 5000 tonnes of garbage per day in the city.
These conferences in both India and Nigeria demonstrate the depth of the waste management problem in a number of developing countries. Suddenly faced with a growing urbanised population their waste has reached scales their governments simply do not have the infrastructure to battle. In fact, last month saw WasteAid UK establish a week with the aim of raising money to help establish clean and resourceful waste management processes, due to take place on the 7th-13th of November, it is believed that every £1 invested in waste management in developing countries saves up to £10 in improved health, livelihoods and flood prevention.
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