Disposing Municipal Solid Waste in Nigeria
In our last article we delved into living a healthy life through the maintenance of healthy environment. This article will emphasize on how to dispose our Municipal Solid waste (MSW) without our environment or health being affected. Municipal Solid waste which is also referred to as trash or refuse, are our daily waste products we use in our homes, shops, schools, etc. that are discarded in public. Municipal Solid waste has increased sporadically over the years, due to increase in population and increase in industries and various organizations.
MSW can be classified based on the materials they are made of;
Biodegradable waste; which includes food and kitchen waste
Recyclable material; paper, cardboard, glass, bottles, jars, tin cans, aluminum cans, aluminum foil etc.
Inert waste: construction and demolition waste, dirt, rocks, debris
Toxic waste; Pesticides, and fungicide…
All these classification of waste and many more are what we produce daily in our environments. Improper management of municipal solid waste is critical to the health and well-being of urban residents (World Bank 2003). Disposing these wastes can be very tasking and this has been a major problem in developing countries, and in some developing countries these wastes are left uncollected. It takes a well-organized environment to inculcate the habit of healthy disposal of our Municipal waste, but irrespective of that, we should put into consideration the harm we are causing if Municipal solid waste is not properly disposed.
After years of research on how solid wastes can be reused to, researchers came up with solid waste management (SWM) or Sustainable Material Management (SMM) which refers to the use and reuse of materials in the most productive and sustainable ways across their entire life cycle. SWM is meant to protect the health of the population, promote environmental quality, develop sustainability, and provide support to economic productivity. Solid waste management should be embraced in all organizations and household in other to help the preservation of the environment and enhance healthy environment.
Different ways of disposing Municipal Solid Waste includes; Recycling, Composting, Disposal and waste to energy. Before disposal there are stages involved in collecting wastes in homes and offices:
Storage facilities: Waste materials should be kept in an unexposed storage facilities before been transferred for disposal. This is to avoid littering and reduce air pollution.
Collection of waste: This is the loading and unloading of MSW (Municipal Solid Waste) from homes and industries until it reaches disposal site.
Transfer system: The truck or system used in transferring MSW from collection units should be properly secured, well protected to avoid exposure or dropping to the environment during transportation. The vehicle should be easy to maneuver and easy to collect.
After these stages has been successfully executed, what is left is the means at which the waste will be disposed, which includes; Recycling, Composting, Disposal and waste to energy.
Recycling: This is the recovering of useful materials to be reused for another purpose or the purpose at which they were used for before. There are different companies involved in waste recycling in Nigeria and other part of the world, such as WeRecyclers, metal recycling Ltd, Chanja Datti Co. Ltd. etc. The waste to be recycled is dependent of the classification of waste and the type of waste each recycling companies deals with. As individuals there are ways by which we can reduce or reuse the waste we produce.
Composting: Biodegradable waste products (food wastes, grass trimmings, leaves, crop residues) are mostly taken through the process of composting. This is another way of recycling, which involves decomposing wastes into organic fertilizers for plants. It is carried out under controlled aerobic conditions in which organic matter is broken down into simpler substances. Benefit of composting is that it reduces the amount of biodegradable wastes in the waste stream, resulting in less pollution. The most important thing to understand about composting is that it can be done at our different backyards rather than buy inorganic fertilizer.
Disposal: Waste recycling is not enough to make our Municipal Waste disappear, there are always left over waste which needs disposing. Disposing is the stage when all the collected waste requires a safe disposal.
Waste to energy: Waste products can also be converted to energy for environmental use, this can be done through the use of incinerator. Incinerator combust wastes with high temperature. Noncombustible waste must be sorted out before incineration.
Although we have seen a lot of people investing in the waste collection and recycling business but it’s still not enough. The government at the federal level as a matter of urgency needs to revive its regulatory framework that will attract more investors.
The environmental health officer’s registration council of Nigeria would do well to intensify more effort to monitor and enforce sanitation laws as well as regulate the activities of the franchisees on good sustainable practices.
Also, the officials should be well trained on professionalism, service delivery and ensure that other states within the country have access to quality waste managers who are within reach and can assist on the best approach to managing their waste before collection. We also have a lot of people carrying out advocacy on proper waste management across the country.
Its time for us to improve on our solid waste disposal method in Nigeria so that we can lead an healthy life.