Waste Management In Nigeria – With increase in population, industries and the rising demand for food and other essentials in Nigeria, there has been a rise in the amount of waste being generated daily by each household.
This waste is ultimately thrown into municipal waste collection centers from where it is collected by the area municipalities to be further thrown into the landfills and dumps.
However, either due to resource crunch or inefficient infrastructure, not all of this waste gets collected and transported to the final dumpsites.
If at this stage the Waste Management In Nigeria and disposal is improperly done, it can cause serious impacts on health and problems to the surrounding environment.
Economic Benefits of Waste in Nigeria
Our country can reap economic benefit as the treatment and disposal of waste can create market for recycling, improving economic efficiency through the means of resource use, treatment and disposal and creating markets for recycles can lead to efficient practices in the production and consumption of products and materials resulting in valuable materials being recovered for reuse and the potential for new jobs and new business opportunities.
More so, by reducing adverse impacts on health caused by Waste Management In Nigeria, better social advantages can lead to new sources of employment and potentially lift communities out of poverty especially in the rural and semi-urban areas.
Reducing or eliminating adverse impacts on the environment through reusing and recycling and minimizing resource extraction can provide improved air and water quality and help in the reduction of greenhouse emissions.
How is Waste Generated In Nigeria
Modernization and progress has had its share of disadvantages and one of the main aspects of concern is the pollution it is causing in our dear country be it land, air, and water. In spite of the good and remarkable things modernization brought to Nigeria, there are also many unhealthy situation revolving around it. However, there are various areas waste is generated in Nigeria:
1. Agricultural and Industries Waste
Waste from agriculture and industries in Nigeria can also cause serious health risks. Other than this, co-disposal of industrial hazardous waste with municipal waste can expose people to chemical and radioactive hazards.
2. Uncollected Solid Waste
This is a common waste in Nigeria. Uncollected solid waste can obstruct storm water runoff, resulting in the forming of stagnant water bodies that become the breeding ground of disease. Waste dumped near a water source also causes contamination of the water body or the ground water source.
3. Direct Dumping of Waste In Water
Direct dumping of untreated waste in drainage channel, rivers, seas, and lakes results in the accumulation of toxic substances in the food chain through the plants and animals that feed on it.
4. Hospital and Medical Waste
Disposal of hospital and other medical waste requires special attention since this can create major health hazards.
In Nigeria, this waste generated from the hospitals, health care centres, medical laboratories, and research centres such as discarded syringe needles, bandages, swabs, plasters, and other types of infectious waste are often disposed with the regular non-infectious waste.
5. Waste Treatment and Disposal Sites
Waste treatment and disposal sites can also create health hazards for the neighbourhood. Improperly operated incineration plants cause air pollution and improperly managed and designed landfills attract all types of insects and rodents that spread disease.
Ideally these sites should be located at a safe distance from all human settlement. Landfill sites should be well lined and walled to ensure that there is no leakage into the nearby ground water sources.
6. Recycling Waste
Recycling waste carries health risks if proper precautions are not taken.
Workers working with waste containing chemical and metals may experience toxic exposure.
Disposal of health-care wastes require special attention since it can create major health hazards, such as Hepatitis B and C, through wounds caused by discarded syringes.
Rag pickers and others who are involved in scavenging in the waste dumps for items that can be recycled, may sustain injuries and come into direct contact with these infectious items.
Health Hazards In Poor Waste Management
Exposure to hazardous waste can affect human health, children being more vulnerable to these pollutants.
In fact, direct exposure can lead to diseases through chemical exposure as the release of chemical waste into the environment leads to chemical poisoning.
Many studies have been carried out in various parts of the world to establish a connection between health and hazardous waste.
Incinerated waste which is one of the major ways of managing waste can pose as a problem when it is not properly managed as it can cause pollution and attracts vectors and rodents that are known to spread disease, workers are at a risk of contracting chronic respiratory disease as a result of exposure to dust and other hazardous materials.
2. Harmful Exposure
Recycling also another way of managing waste may be a danger to those who recycle because sometimes these recycled wastes that containing harsh chemicals and metals and this may lead to chemical and toxic exposure.
3. Disease Breeding Ground
Waste that is uncollected can obstruct water runoff and lead to the stagnation of water bodies resulting to the formation of a breeding ground of disease. It can also contaminate water bodies if it is near a water source.
4. Toxic Accumulation
Dumping of waste in or near water source may result to the accumulation of toxic substances in the food chain to the plant and animal that feed on it.
Medical waste like discarded syringes, bandages, plasters, swabs can cause an increase in injury and infection this is because they are usually disposed with non-infectious waste hence leading to major health hazards such as hepatitis B and hepatitis C.
How To Do Proper Waste Management In Nigeria:
1. Segregate Waste
To ensure that the environment is not affected by the mismanagement of waste or exposed to any health hazards, people should learn how to segregate their waste, organic and inorganic waste should be separated.
2. Manage Waste Effectively
Organic waste should be managed in such a way that they can easily decompose and they should be used as fertilizer if possible.
Waste that contains certain chemicals should be treated before they are released as they are highly toxic and exposure can lead to disease or death.
3. Careful Planning
The solution to waste management starts with planning, quantification of waste and the determination of high and low density areas, methods to be adopted and funds.
Waste generation, collation, collection, and final disposal have gone scientific and as such should be handled scientifically. It can be a valuable resource if addressed correctly, through policy and practice.
With rational and consistent waste management practices there is an opportunity to reap a range of benefits.
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