With a population of over 170 million, Nigeria is one of the largest producers of solid waste in Africa. The reckless attitude of humans is now destroying a whole world of living organisms and our own land surface, considering that nature itself is very fragile.
The alarming rate at which humans generate waste has been detrimental to our environment, and our natural habitat has been greatly impacted. The need for censorship in waste disposal should be a clarion call now more than ever, as most of this waste lasts for years when not recycled.
Harmful effects of waste management in Nigeria
The effect of the waste generated ranges from its contribution to the worsening of the climate crisis, detriment to public health, negative impact on wildlife, plants and the natural environment in general.
According to a recent study, it is estimated that the world generates 2.01 billion tons of municipal solid waste per year, and at least 33% of this waste is not managed in an enabling environment. Waste generated per person per day averages 0.74 kilograms, but varies widely, from 0.11 to 4.54 kilograms.
By the year 2050, global waste is expected to skyrocket by approximately 70 percent to 3.4 billion metric tons, more than twice the current growth in world population over the same time period.
This is due to a number of factors such as population growth, urbanization and economic growth. It was also estimated that every year, humans produce millions of tons of waste and this is increasingly becoming a major problem around the world.
In Nigeria, solid waste management is the most pressing environmental challenge facing urban and rural areas. With a population of over 170 million, Nigeria is one of the largest producers of solid waste in Africa.
Nigeria generates more than 32 million tons of solid waste annually, of which only 20-30% is collected. Most of the waste is generated by households and in some cases by local industries that litter the environment.
Waste prevention and recycling help address global climate change by decreasing the amount of greenhouse gas emissions and saving energy. In essence, waste disposal and treatment can produce emissions of various greenhouse gases (GHGs) that contribute to global climate change. The way we manage waste, however, is a very imperative factor affecting climate change. Poor waste management not only generates garbage everywhere, but also affects our environment and generates population in the air and sea.
It is estimated that by the end of this century, the temperature of the earth’s surface will increase by approximately 2 °C, which will have serious devastating effects on our ecosystems and on humans. Changes in the climate have become more than evident recently, thus affecting the environment and human life. Climate change is causing frequent damage to our biological system ranging from environmental hazards to human health, including extreme weather, increased danger of fire outbreaks, and the spread of infectious diseases.
The reckless attitude of humans is now destroying a whole world of living organisms and our own land surface, considering that nature itself is very fragile. Our energy production, product consumption, and irresponsible waste management contribute directly to climate change by adding carbon-based particles to the air, which are produced during the burning of petroleum products.
It results in the creation of warmer air, with a disastrous greenhouse effect. The landfill that serves as a solution to waste management also has an adverse effect on our environment. The landfill is a waste disposal site where disposable materials are sent and which actually presents a great risk due to the gases that are generated in this open-air dump. The decomposition of waste generates high levels of methane gas and Co2.
Much of all the waste that is landfilled is not recycled, leading to adverse effects such as air pollution and finding its way into waterways. Waste recycling has the potential to radically reduce the impact of materials on society and the environment.
A new WEF report highlights that a combination of redesign and global protocols that emphasize harmonization between use and available recycling methods could radically reduce material impact estimated at $100 of value to society per tonne recycled.
The growing demand for recyclable materials is creating the world’s largest recycling effort ever seen in history. These global supply chains constitute a new phenomenon in which several million recyclers around the world play an important role.
Industrial recycling is becoming more widespread around the world and is expected to increase as manufacturing faces more stringent resource constraints. In an era of rising raw material prices, recyclable materials are in high demand due to their low cost.
Throughout the world, along with the recycling effort of developing and developed countries such as China, Brazil and India and Western countries, there is the use of recyclers or dumpsters. Millions of scavengers form the base of this supply chain. It has been estimated that in Africa, Asia and the cities of Latin America about 1 percent of the urban population worldwide survives thanks to the collection of waste. A growing number of experiences in Africa, Asia and Latin America demonstrate that the formation of scavengers can promote grassroots development, empowerment, poverty reduction, as well as protect the environment and improve industrial competitiveness.
Collection activities can reduce greenhouse gas emissions by recycling inorganic and organic materials. Recycling of inorganic materials by scavengers saves energy.
Finally, global recycling chains can benefit millions of low-income and vulnerable people around the world, in addition to contributing to a more competitive economy and environmental protection in the fight against climate change.