Experts seek paradigm shift on sanitation, urge collaboration
To ensure cleaner and healthy environment, experts have canvassed the need for Nigeria to accept the sad reality that national development would be stunted and become more expensive unless it can develop a better response to the issue of basic sanitation.
According to them, there is need for a paradigm shift in the sub-sector, which will entail supporting legislations for national planning, and resource mobilisation.
Leading the call in Abuja, a former registrar of Environmental Health Registration Council of Nigeria, (EHRCN) Dr. Augustine Ebisike, such reform if strategically put in place, would change the situation for the better.
Ebisike also sought for a platform to enable private sectors provide infrastructure such as sewerage systems, Landfill sites, recycling plants, waste collection and waste water treatment facilities.He regretted the duplication of agencies in environment and other ministries, saying it did not augur well for the sector
“With better regulatory framework, the private sector can construct, own and manage a network of sewerage system in our cities. This will assist in reducing to the lowest level the incidence of diseases.
“According to the UNDP, an estimated 108 million Nigerians still lack access to toilets. In many urban centres, there are houses where people live and there is no functional toilet, he said. Ebisike expressed worries over lack of functional public conveniences in Abuja, saying many people who had well designed toilets outside the centre of Abuja emptied the content of septic tanks at illegal disposal locations like bodies of water.
In a related development, environmentalists have urged government to encourage both private and public sector to set up recycling plants to scale up waste collection/buy back and reuse in the country.
They maintained that targets should be set for decent work and economic growth, which are strongly related to the achievement of a circular economy and sustainable development goals, SDGs.
The experts spoke at Stakeholders’ Summit organised by National Environmental Standards Regulation and Enforcement Agency, NESREA, and sponsored by Food and Beverage Industry in Abuja.
President of Waste Management Society of Nigeria,(WAMASON), Prof. Oladele Osibanjo, said this could be achieved through long-lasting design, maintenance, repair, and treating of waste after it has occurred. He explained that circular economy is a regenerative system in which resource input and waste, emission, and energy leakage are minimized by slowing, closing, and narrowing energy and material loops.
On his part, vice chairman of Food and Beverage Recycling Alliance (FBRA) , Adekunle Olusuyi, said tthey alliance have been intensifying awareness on separation of waste and environmental pollution.
Contributing, Chairman of FBRA , Sade Morgan said that with estimated annual growth rate of 2.6 percent in Nigeria, there was increase in level of consumption, translating to rise in waste generation that needs to be tackled.
Ola Oressanya of E-Waste Producer Responsibility organization of Nigeria, opined that implementing circular economy in electrical and electronic equipment, would go along way to control waste here.He explained that development of database on e-waste generation and recycling would sustain environmentally sound and eliminate pollution resulting from informal methods of management.