ECOSEA 2022: Implementation, Not Policy Formulation Is The Major Challenge Facing Waste Management In Nigeria- LAWMA MD
As the Federal government of Nigeria and other concerned bodies seek ways of forestalling the incidence of flood disasters currently plaguing some states in the country, the Managing Director/CEO of Lagos Waste Management Authority (LAWMA), Mr. Ibrahim Odumboni, has posited that lack of policy execution is the bane of waste management brouhaha being experienced within the refuse disposal sector.
He made this disclosure while contributing to a panel discussion at the maiden edition of the 2022 Environmental Sustainability Conference, Expo and Awards (ECOSEA), held at the Shell Hall, MUSON Centre, Onikan, Lagos, recently. According to him, “Majority of the challenges we are facing in Nigeria today with regards to flooding and environmental issues are caused by self-imposed factors.
“It starts from unnecessary dredging, improper waste disposal, and indiscriminate cutting down of trees. The basic challenge we are facing is not the depth of policy but the implementation of it”.
Severe floods in Nigeria since September have caused the deaths of over 600 people and displaced 1.3 million from their homes, according to a government minister, in the most devastating episode of seasonal floods Nigeria has seen in a decade. Although environmental researchers and analysts have blamed the incessant flood disaster on the deluge of rain experienced this year, others also posit that poor, or non-existent drainage systems, poor waste management, unregulated urban expansion and the lax implementation of laws are the main drivers of the flood.
Odumboni also stated that the lack of proper maintenance culture has impacted negatively on the efforts of LAWMA in fostering a clean and healthy environment. “When you drive around Lagos at 2 am, you will see everywhere clean because my staff has done all they can. However, you will find the whole place messed up when you go back there by 9 am. These refuse are dropped by people who don’t pay LAWMA bills and feel no one sees them while dropping them off around 4 am”.
Also, the Head, Sustainable Development and Corporate Brand, Lafarge Africa Plc, Titilope Oguntuga stressed that there is an urgent need to align with global policies concerning waste management policies, and climate change policy. “There are different gazettes of waste management, but what we talk about most of the time is recycling because we generate from there. A lot of industry such as the cement industry, power plants, and others needs heat. If we look at the energy sector in Nigeria you will realize that most of them use gas to heat up”.
She also affirmed that Nigeria’s level of recycling is still low compared to other countries. “I can tell you by 2025, we will be able to replace about 60% of our energy needs with waste and his are not new technology. These are the technology that has already been deployed in Nigeria. The main thing is that waste that you can recycle needs to go to recycling and it is not just about Lafarge, Cement industry can do a lot, so there needs to be a real policy that can address that”.
Earlier in his welcome address, the convener of ECOSEA, Joshua Ajayi stressed that the event is the first step in an exciting journey. He believes will continue for many years into the future. After formally thanking everyone present at the event he described as a convergence of stakeholders in environmental sustainability in both the public and private sectors, as well as development agencies in the sustainability space, he took time to highlight the goals of the annual conference.
According to the convener “Our goal for ECOSEA is to create an annual platform that would steadily become the largest foremost thought-leadership platform that champions the cause of environmentally sustainable actions in Africa.
“We also want to create an aspirational space people will gather annually to showcase innovative and environmentally friendly products, services, and initiatives. We equally want to be the most prestigious recognition platform for champions of environmental sustainability in Nigeria and Sub-Saharan Africa while serving as a tool of inspiration to others”.
Three different panels of discussants dissected various issues on environmental sustainability and about 26 awards were handed out to deserving players in the environmental sustainability space.
Selected environmentally friendly brands also exhibited their products on the stands. About 26 active players in the sustainability space were recognized for their outstanding performances in the last 12 months. They include Access Bank which carted home the Award For The Most Outstanding Company In Environmental Sustainability, Coca-Cola that captured the Award For The Most Outstanding Beverage Company In Environmental Sustainability, and Standard Chartered’s Accelerating Zeros Campaign won the Award For The Eco-Friendly Brand Campaign Of The Year Others are the Award for the Most Outstanding Agency in Environmental Sustainability won by Lagos State Waste Management Authority (LAWMA), and the Award for the Most Outstanding Conglomerate in Environmental Sustainability won by Dangote Group among others.