Now is the time to recognize this is vital for global sustainable development.
Without a doubt, one of the causes of health and safety challenges known today is a result of the negative consequences of human activities in the generation and management of waste.
The increased volume of solid waste is one of the components of the progressive deterioration of human activity and environmental quality in countries all over the world and until waste management is addressed as a priority in Nigeria, the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) cannot be met. This puts Solid Waste Management as a key in delivering the Global Goals for Sustainable Development.
According to the Federal Ministry of Environment in Nigeria, “as a result of industrialization and rapid population growths in many cities and towns, wastes are generated faster than they are collected, transported and disposed of.” Most times, when vehicles are not available to convey waste away from locations, the waste would end up on the road or, when there is massive rainfall, erosion, and overflooding drives the waste to the streets and most times into houses. This can lead to the redirection of traffic, block the drainage channels and, worse still, require extra energy and cost to re-gather the waste also not neglecting the health consequences as well as climate change this may cause.
From all the identified challenges of Solid Waste Management, transportation functionality (organized collection), public awareness, and participation, in addition to appropriate legislation, strong technical support, and adequate financing has been seen as the most powerful components that can alleviate this problem.
It is on this basis that LiveBridge Foundation (LBF) took steps first in the area of public awareness to create a strong public awareness campaign as the effect of wastes on human health becomes imperative. This hopes to go a long way in increasing community knowledge in developing a positive attitude to environmental hygiene and participate actively in the crusade towards reducing the volume, type, and toxicity of hazardous wastes as well as assisting in their environmentally sound management.
According to LBF on this initiative, there is a need for education, training, and sensitization among media personnel to help equip the residents with the awareness on emerging issues as well as economic prospects of waste management on one hand as well as an intense need for sensitization programs to educate the populace about the dangers associated with poor refuse collection and disposal on the environment and health of the public in general.
The public also needs to be enlightened about various sustainable options available for waste management. Attention is placed on informing the public to segregate waste by promoting waste reduction, reuse, and recycling and enable the separation of recyclables and biodegradable materials from being dumped on the roadsides, drains, and on empty lands. This is in line with the LBF Trashion Project already in transition.
A sustainable process satisfies the current needs without compromising the ability of future generations to satisfy their own needs; that is, it must have a triple impact (sustainability): social, economic, and environmental as these are very crucial.