Waste re­cy­cling laws key to pro­mot­ing cir­cu­lar econ­omy

Business Day (Nigeria) - - NEWS - BUNMI BAILEY

For Nige­ria to be­come a cir­cu­lar econ­omy, ef­forts must be chan­nelled to­wards leg­is­la­tion and ef­fec­tive im­ple­men­ta­tion of waste man­age­ment law.

This was the con­sen­sus by en­vi­ron­men­tal ex­perts at the Lafarge Africa’s fourth and fi­nal sus­tain­abil­ity se­ries themed, “Roadmaps to Pro­gress­ing the Sus­tain­able Devel­op­ment Goals (SDGS): Op­por­tu­ni­ties in Cir­cu­lar Econ­omy and Sci­ence Tech­nol­ogy Engi­neer­ing and Math­e­mat­ics (STEM).

The we­bi­nar se­ries which ran on a weekly ba­sis from Au­gust 19 to Septem­ber 9 brought to­gether di­verse na­tional and in­ter­na­tional stake­hold­ers to dis­cuss and cre­ate a na­tional blue­print to­wards ac­cel­er­at­ing the achieve­ment of the SDGS in Nige­ria.

Speak­ing at the we­bi­nar on Wed­nes­day, Axel Pi­eters, cor­po­rate and re­gional head, Geo­cy­cle, said leg­is­la­tion and en­force­ment of laws in em­brac­ing proper waste man­age­ment prac­tices was im­por­tant.

“Nige­ria as a fast-grow­ing na­tion with a high pop­u­la­tion needs to have a clear, clean and healthy en­vi­ron­ment,” Pi­eters fur­ther said.

Ac­cord­ing to Wikipedia, a cir­cu­lar econ­omy is an eco­nomic sys­tem aimed at elim­i­nat­ing waste and the con­tin­ual use of re­sources. It em­ploys re­use, shar­ing, re­pair, re­fur­bish­ment, re­man­u­fac­tur­ing and re­cy­cling to cre­ate a closed-loop sys­tem, min­imis­ing the use of re­source inputs and the cre­ation of waste, pol­lu­tion and car­bon emis­sions. It also helps to ac­cel­er­ate im­ple­men­ta­tion of the SDGS 2030 agenda.

But waste man­age­ment has be­come a crit­i­cal chal­lenge in Nige­ria; thus, daily, sig­nif­i­cant amounts of waste pro­duced in the coun­try end

www.busi­ness­day.ng up in­dis­crim­i­nately in the en­vi­ron­ment. By 2025, it is es­ti­mated that waste gen­er­a­tion in Nige­ria would make up 25 per­cent of Africa’s to­tal wastes gen­er­a­tion.

How­ever, with en­vi­ron­men­tal aware­ness on the rise glob­ally, there have been var­i­ous pol­icy at­tempts at ef­fec­tive waste man­age­ment. One of such is the Ex­tended Pro­ducer Re­spon­si­bil­ity (EPR), which makes man­u­fac­tur­ers and re­tail­ers re­spon­si­ble for the man­age­ment of their post­con­sumer prod­ucts.

“It is an in­no­va­tive and in­dus­try-based waste man­age­ment ap­proach that pro­motes cir­cu­lar econ­omy. And the pri­vate sec­tor are the ones that are well po­si­tioned to take this on, by creat­ing new value chains which will foster com­pet­i­tive ad­van­tage and rigid­ity in the cir­cu­lar econ­omy,” Aliyo Jauro, direc­tor- gen­eral, Na­tional En­vi­ron­men­tal Stan­dards and Reg­u­la­tion En­force­ment Agency, said.

He fur­ther added that the gov­ern­ment’s only role is to make sure that things are done in the right way.

Apart from the con­ver­sa­tions on the cir­cu­lar econ­omy, there were also dis­cus­sions on the low par­tic­i­pa­tion of stu­dents es­pe­cially girls in STEM pro­grammes.

“From the stu­dents that we have trained so far, we have ob­served that the ladies come top of their classes. So, there is need to en­cour­age other sec­tors of the econ­omy to em­brace this, so that we will be able to train a ma­jor chunk of our pop­u­la­tion,” Tanko Ibrahim, MD, Peu­geot Au­to­mo­bile Limited, said.

STEM, a key fac­tor in the eco­nomic, so­cial and en­vi­ron­men­tal devel­op­ment of a coun­try leads to sus­tain­able devel­op­ment. But it has been tra­di­tion­ally viewed as more a track for men as op­posed to women.

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