Solid waste management is a lucrative businessi – NIAE Chairman tells Government, OPS
By Nwa Amara
The Chairman of Nigerian Institution of Agricultural Engineers (NIAE) Abia State Chapter and Past Chairman of Nigerian Society of Engineers (NSE) Umuahia Branch, Engr. Victor Ihediwa has encouraged the government to enact policy guidelines with emphasis on the role of the private sector in a view to make the solid waste management lucrative in Nigeria.
This is even as he tasked the technically minded engineers in the country to look beyond the
enormous ecological hazards/challenges posed by waste and tap on the profitable chances embedded in it, in order to meet the economic and job needs, and as well solve the environmental and social problems of the nation.
Presenting a paper titled, “BUSINESS OF WASTE MANAGEMENT IN NIGERIA: OPPORTUNITIES AND CHALLENGES FOR THE PRIVATE PARTICIPANTS”, at the General Meeting of the Nigerian Society of Engineers in Umuahia, Engr. Ihediwa who x-rayed the problems posed by waste in the society as a result of population boom and modernization, however noted that waste if properly managed, could turn positively and affect the economy of any given society.
“The amount of waste in our cities and rural areas is increasing rapidly, because of growing population, new technological development, industrialization, urbanization with its attendant improved standard of living and increasing consumption.
“In Nigeria today, it is common to see heaps of festering waste dumps in our urban and rural cities. All sides of residential areas, the drains, the highways, street corners, undeveloped plots of land have become waste dumpsites. Consequently waste has become a National and International concern, a global problem seeking for the Private Participants’ attention.
“Waste is classified as solid, semisolid, liquid and gaseous waste. It is further categorised as urban or rural domestic, agricultural, medical, institutional, industrial and commercial waste. It may be said to be toxic, radioactive, hazardous, organic or inorganic waste. Waste characteristics vary significantly among communities and nations.
Solid waste has increased in most of the countries globally, more so in Nigeria where urban city solid waste is generated at an average rate of approximately 0.5kg per person per day.
“This increase is dramatic especially during the recent years, causing enormous ecological hazards and major social concerns. The problem is as well affecting the infrastructures in the urban and rural cities of Nigeria. However, it also comes with vast business opportunities for would be participants in solid waste management programme.
“Management of solid waste reduces or eliminates adverse impacts on the environment and human health and supports economic development and improved quality of life. Urban and rural solid waste comprises the food waste, agricultural waste, rubbish, commercial waste, institutional waste, street sweeping waste, industrial waste, construction waste and sanitation waste.
“More so, urban and rural solid waste in Nigeria has more recyclable materials like paper, plastics, metal and glass among others; more Compostable organic material like vegetables and fruit peels, food waste and farm produce waste among others; average amount of Electronic waste like discarded computer equipment, televisions, fridges, radio-sets, among others; less toxic substances like paints, pesticides, used batteries, medicines among others; and soiled waste like sanitary napkins, etcetera.
“Therefore this review paper gives highlight on the available business opportunities for Private Sector in Nigeria, to engage in Solid Waste Management as a business in our urban or rural cities”, Ihediwa pointed out.
The Abia NIAE boss who recommended that Government should also subsidize products generated from recycled waste to encourage private participation in solid waste management, also harped on the need to encourage the private organisations to partner with the state and local government in managing solid waste challenges in “our immediate environment”.
He also advised the Organized Private Sector to, as a matter of urgency, commence the establishment of solid waste management plants within the urban and rural cities, because of the profitable business opportunities in it.
According to him, Private waste-collection organizations should mount an intensive campaign to enlighten those who generate solid waste in urban cities to keep cans, cardboard, newspapers and other recyclable items separate from other waste for easy processing.
Ihediwa who also recommended that sufficient data on solid waste management in Nigeria is required to provide information to intending participants in urban and rural city solid waste management, advised the Private Sector to commence the offer of professional solid waste management services to “our urban and rural cities”, to the state and local government authorities.