Waste recycling laws key to promoting circular economy
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.