How Lagos can lead in recycling and sorting
Kehinde Allen-Taylor is not employed by, for co, consult with, hold shares in, or receive money from any business or organization that could benefit from this piece and has not disclosed any relevant affiliations outside their academic institution.
The proper management of waste would help to stop the indiscriminate disposal of garbage in public spaces all over Lagos.
As with many other countries in Sub-Saharan Africa, Nigeria is agued by a waste management issue. The Nigerian National Municipal Waste Management Policy (2020) provides no figures, stating, “Nigeria produces a large volume of solid waste out of which less than 20% is collected through a formal system”.
This is less than the World Bank’s estimation of the average collection rate for Sub-Saharan countries of 44 percent. It is also lower than those with the European and North American collection rates – 90% of the waste produced.
The problem is not just how much waste is disposed of but the inability to collect accurate information about the amount of garbage that is produced initially. For instance, Lagos State is a good illustration. Lagos State, Nigeria’s largest city, produced 10,000 tonnes of garbage daily in 2005. The Lagos State said in 2018 that the volume of waste generated in the past “outweighs the official figure of 13,000 tons per day”.
Managing the waste from collection to transportation through disposal is a significant problem for Lagos, which makes up the majority of the nation’s garbage. The size of the population in Lagos state’s urbanization and consumption patterns, as well as the extent of economic activity, all contribute to the increase in the volume of waste produced.
The Nigerian National Municipal Waste Management Policy (2020) can revolutionize waste management nationwide.
The policy is designed to allow recycling, separation, and management of waste, preserve natural resources, and offer opportunities to earn money.
However, the policy still needs to be fully applied.
In an earlier article, my coworkers and I discussed the necessity of Lagos State to put in a practical policy framework that includes rules for the hierarchy of waste. A waste hierarchy is a concept that our actions to reduce waste can differ. The priority should be prevention; after that, reuse, recycling, recovery, and (least desired) disposal.
The Waste Management Hierarchy. Author
We observed that in Lagos, the hierarchy needed to be followed. Residents create mixed waste with no separating or sorting. Most household waste is stored in plastic bags, sacs, Ks, and buckets. Waste collectors contracted by the contractor collect mixed waste and take it directly to dump sites. The dumpsite waste pickers recover valuable materials, and waste is burnt at these dumps.
In reality, the waste hierarchy has been flipped upside-down within Lagos State. Trash isn’t being recycled, collected, transported, and disposed of in an environmentally sustainable manner that doesn’t risk the health of people, the environment, and future generations.
How does Lagos manage to collect garbage?
The Lagos State Waste Management Authority was established in 1991 to manage, move, and dispose of industrial and municipal waste.
Recently, the authority has erected street sweepers and upgraded open dump sites. The source also introduced 102 waste collection vehicles andand the Adopt-A-Bin program, where businessesbusinesses and homeowners can purchase their bins for waste. It launched with the Lagos Recycle initiative using intelligent waste collection and reporting software and has invested in equipment for managing dump sites.
It was the first to launch its Blue Box Initiative, which aims to encourage the idea of sorting trash at the point of production. However, the initiative has yet to be shattered.