Embracing Waste Recycling in Nigeria: A Step Towards Sustainability

Waste recycling offers numerous benefits

Embracing waste recycling in Nigeria is crucial for promoting sustainability, conserving natural resources, Embracing waste recycling in Nigeria is crucial for promoting sustainability, conserving natural resources,

Recycling: Embracing Waste Recycling in Nigeria: A Step Towards Sustainability.

Nigeria, like many other developing countries, faces significant environmental challenges, including waste management. The country generates approximately 2.5 million metric tons of plastic waste annually, with a significant portion ending up in water bodies, contributing to marine pollution .
Now, if you have ever wondered why drains are always blocked; dumpsites are created indiscriminately and pollution is the order of the day in many cities across the country, wonder no more. The answer is simply – People. This is the heart of the problem; a large number of people generate large volumes of waste without a discernible plan for proper disposal, indiscriminate burning of waste, including plastics and other non-biodegradable materials, which releases harmful pollutants into the air, contributing to air pollution and posing serious health risks to residents, especially children and the elderly.

One thing is clear; Nigeria lacks a proper waste management system. Experts argue that the real problem is a large amount of ‘single-use’ items and products which effectively creates a linear economic model.
The linear economic model involves “take, make, use and dispose off”. Under this model, items once used need to be disposed off and they subsequently end up in landfills and waste sites.

In seeking to effectively control the waste management problem, adopting global best practices in this space makes sense. The current trend is shifting from mere waste management to wealth creation; economic development and an improved environment
However, there is a growing recognition of the importance of waste recycling in Nigeria, driven by individuals, businesses, and government initiatives.

Benefits of Waste Recycling

Waste recycling offers numerous benefits, including:

– Conservation of Natural Resources: Recycling helps to conserve natural resources by reusing materials that would otherwise be extracted and processed from raw materials.
– Reduction of Waste: Recycling reduces the amount of waste sent to landfills and incinerators, minimizing the environmental impacts of waste disposal.
– Job Creation: The recycling industry has the potential to create jobs and stimulate economic growth.
– Environmental Protection: Recycling helps to protect the environment by reducing pollution, conserving water, and decreasing greenhouse gas emissions.

Initiatives and Success Stories

Several initiatives and success stories demonstrate the potential of waste recycling in Nigeria:

– Women-Led Recycling Schemes:
Women-led recycling schemes, such as Greenhill Recycling and RESWAYE, are promoting waste recycling and upcycling in Lagos and other parts of the country .
– Corporate Recycling Programs:
Companies like British American Tobacco Nigeria (BATN) have implemented corporate recycling programs, partnering with waste recycling companies to manage their physical waste responsibly .
– Entrepreneurial Ventures
Entrepreneurs are capitalizing on the waste recycling opportunity in Nigeria, establishing businesses that collect, process, and resell recycled materials ³.

Challenges and Opportunities

Despite the progress made, challenges persist, including:

– Limited Infrastructure: Inadequate waste management infrastructure hinders the effective collection and recycling of waste.
– Lack of Awareness: Limited public awareness about the importance of waste recycling and its benefits.
– Economic Constraints: High costs associated with waste recycling and the need for affordable alternatives.

However, these challenges present opportunities for innovation, investment, and growth in the waste recycling sector.

Conclusion

Embracing waste recycling in Nigeria is crucial for promoting sustainability, conserving natural resources, and reducing environmental pollution. While challenges exist, the success stories and initiatives demonstrate the potential for waste recycling to drive economic growth, create jobs, and protect the environment. As the country moves forward, it is essential to prioritize waste recycling, invest in infrastructure, and raise public awareness to create a more sustainable future for generations to come.

Written by Oboh Promise
(Obiwannem News Correspondent Akwa ibom state)
Date: June 17, 2024
Ubochi Afo Ani
Published by Ngozi Odoh (Obinwannem Nsukka Office Secretary)

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