In almost 50% of the areas in Nigeria’s urban cities, managing the municipal wastes generated is a tough nut to crack. So, Ecobarter is saying, before trashing it, think recycling!
In Nigeria, controlled open dumping is the official method of managing municipal wastes, with Government dumps in secured areas in major states. Examples are Oloshun dumpsite in Lagos and Gosa dumpsite in Abuja. Waste generated around the cities are expected to be evacuated from houses and business complexes by state-owned or licensed private trucks and disposed at these designated dumpsites. However, less than 50% of households have access to these waste management methods and services.
An average household of four, generates about 8kg/capita/week, leaving over 30 million tonnes of municipal solid wastes across the country annually. Without access to the formal waste management methods, most communities result to indiscriminate waste management methods- open dumping on street corners, along drainage ways or blatantly burning wastes within their households.
These indiscriminate practices have negative impacts on public health, the environment and communal wealth.
As urbanization deepens and population grows, the world is experiencing a constrain of natural resources and lesser land is available for even the most engineered landfills. To respond to these constraints, resource and waste management practices are evolving, communities are adopting more circular approach to consumption and production to phase-out the waste idea and make more resources available for reuse.
In reality, 30-40% of municipal waste generated can be easily recycled into new products – Plastics, Beverage cans, Paper, Cartons, Glass, Metals. Food or organic wastes make-up 50% and these can be composted or utilized to generate biogas.
However, the volume of solid waste getting to the overburdened dumpsites continue to increase at rates faster than Government can manage or assign new sites. Where recycling rates are reaching 30-60% in developed countries, Nigeria recycles less than 15% of the over 30 million tonnes of municipal wastes.
Recycling has the potential to reduce waste needed to be disposed by over 30% and improve local manufacturing. To recycle is to reduce waste and environmental degradation while also contributing to boost the economy and provide jobs.
While we can easily attribute the low recycling in Nigeria to a mix of; low awareness level of the impact of indiscriminate practices on the economy, public health, food security and environment; lack of easily accessible recycling infrastructure and lack of policy to mandate recycling, the lack of knowledge of which materials to recycle and which to trash is a prominent issue that Ecobarter has identified, which everyone has the power to address.
To learn about the different types of wastes generated within your household, those that legitimately belong in the trash, those that should be repurposed and those that should go into recycling bins, Ecobarter curated a household recycling dictionary.
Before trashing your waste, think recycling and use Ecobarter’s recycling dictionary as your guide.