Waste Management and Job Creation in the Niger Delta
A paper presentation at the 2nd Annual Dare 2 Dream Youth Summit held on Saturday 30th August 2008 at Posaq Conference Hall, 76A Old Airport Road, Effurun.
By E.O. Karibo, (MWMSN; MNES; MCIWM, UK)
Integrated Waste Management-West
Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria Ltd (SPDC)
I am personally delightful to be given the honour of presenting a paper on Waste Management on the occasion of the 2nd annual Dare-2-Dream Youth Summit with the theme as “Youths as agents of change”. The event is not only timely but a vehicle to the attainment of sustainable peace and livelihood in the Niger Delta. The title of my paper is “Waste Management and Job Creation in the Niger Delta”. The importance of this paper is sequel to the prevailing environmental challenges poor waste management could pose to human health and the environment. And the fact that if properly harnessed, waste could become an economic means for job creation and youth engagement for effective change agents compared to social vises that have continued to rage of society.
The focus of this discussion shall be from personal experience as “waste Manager” over the past 13-years. At the end of this paper presentation, we would have been exposed to the Effects of poor waste handling, Sound Waste Management Techniques as well as Benefits/Opportunities Waste Management could attract given the level of jobless in the Niger Delta that may have led youths into restiveness rather than productive engagement.
Definition of Waste:
The word “Waste” is a highly subjective notion. While some persons see waste as a risk to public health and the environment, some find it as a mere necessary inconvenience and nuisance- necessary because it must be generated as long as man exits in the world to carry out day-to-day activities and a nuisance in that a sight of a huge waste dump, is not only unsightly but generates offensive odour apart from its attendant environmental consequences. However, from my personal perception, I see waste as a source of income. The understanding of my perception of waste might increase the effectiveness of waste management campaigns now that you may have been informed and educated.
Effects of Waste handling:
The growing global awareness on sustainable development as well as poor implementation of relevant environmental laws/regulations and the complete absence of waste management resources/facilities within and around major urban cities in Nigeria has promoted waste in bad or negative effects. The effects of waste are dimensional depending on the type of waste. However, hazardous waste resulting from industrial activities accounts for over 70% effects to human and the environment.
Studies reveal that, over 1,500 new chemicals are invented every year and many are introduced into industrial processes. Often these chemicals find themselves in places where they are able to harm human and environment. Apart from waste from industrial processes, sewage and other special waste such as asbestos, paints, fluorescent tubes etc pose various degrees of hazards.
Dangers of poor waste management
Time to Biodegrade
Time to Biodegrade
40 - 50 years
80 - 100 years
1 million years
1 million years
Plastic coated paper
30 –40 years
Table-1: Showing possible period it could take waste to decay
Sound Waste Management techniques:
An environmentally sound management practice involves efforts geared towards managing waste from “cradle-to-grave” without leaving any footprint that could cause harm to human and the environment. Increasing amounts of difficult-to-treat or organic wastes is among the topics of major concern today globally. The logical starting point for solid waste management is to prevent waste. This involves practices and technologies that could be explored to prevent waste through Engineering-Redesign, System Modification, buy-back of Products, Materials and Containers, and Organic Material Management strategies. In the hierarchy of Waste Management, this is certainly the most preferred option. The second most preferred option in the Waste Management hierarchy would be to reduce the amount of waste available for disposal. Waste reduction or minimization aims at reducing or eliminating the generation of waste at the source in a production processes. A common example will be improving a work practice, such as reorganizing paint batches in order to reduce cleaning operations. The 3rd preffered Waste Management option is to reuse waste. This involves reusing a product for the same or a different purpose that is; use a spent plastic drum of lube oil for collection of waste. The 4th option will be to recycle waste. This involves the process of transforming materials into secondary resources for manufacturing new products. Example of which is, processing paper waste into egg crate. The 5th waste management option is to recover waste. This is the obtaining of materials/organics (by source separation or sorting out from mixed wastes) that can be reused or recycled. An example of this practice will be burning waste oil for energy recovery. The last proffered option in the Waste Management hierarchy is residue/disposal. This option involves the treatment and eventual disposal of waste after all other options may have been explored. In contending with this option however, an engineered landfill is usually required for this option.
In other words, the P-5Rs (Prevent, Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, recover and Residue) remain a global principle of Waste Management. The application of these principles will result to initiatives aimed at promoting sound health and protection of the environment. It also makes good economic and business sense to adopt and apply the principles in all phase of business cycle. According to agenda 21, the agreement reached among participating nations at the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development in Rio de Janeiro in 1992, emphasized, in Chapter 21, that reducing wastes and maximizing environmentally sound waste reuse and recycling should be the first steps in waste management. The environmental, social, and economic benefits of integrating practices of waste reduction are the bases for an emerging worldwide agenda for solid waste management. And so compliance to these best practice principles is a direct compliance to the United Nation agenda to Sustainable Environmental practice.
Principles of Waste Management Practices
Fig-2: Showing hierarchy of Waste Management
Benefit/Opportunities in Waste Management:
The application of the P-5Rs principles of waste management is an economic development tool as well as an environmental tool for any growing society. It offers direct development opportunities for communities when waste is collected with skill and care. It is a well-known fact that, discarded materials are local resource that can contribute to local revenue, job creation, business expansion, and the local economic base. This can be achieved in the following ways;
Benefits arising from sound waste collection: It will cost every one of us less to develop and implement sound municipal waste collection. The gain here will be from improved sound health and environmental protection, to creation of job opportunity for waste handlers, mechanics for vehicular maintenance, sales of waste bins/trucks and sundries associated with proper handling of waste.
Availability of Waste Management facilities: Harvesting, extracting, and processing the raw materials used to manufacture new products is an energy-intensive activity. Reducing or nearly eliminating the need for these processes, therefore, achieves huge savings in energy. The availability of recycling plants, landfill sites, and energy recovery plant will not only improve our technological base but job creation for our team jobless youth. As well as research and development opportunities.
Improved recycling Initiatives: Current practice today is to see people scavenge on waste dumpsites with attendant health and safety risk to pick recyclable waste items for economic and other gains. Recycling aluminum cans, for example, saves 95 percent of the energy required to make the same amount of aluminum from its virgin source, bauxite. The amount of energy saved differs by material, but almost all recycling processes achieve significant energy savings compared to production using virgin materials. And so apart from waste to wealth gains derivable from this practice, it offers employment opportunities.
Effects on Industries: Today our dear Warri city has improves tremendously from a metal-waste-city to a metal waste-free city. This is attributed to operation of the Delta Steel plant for he recycling of metal waste. The quantum of economic and environmental benefits this industry and the likes have in our society cannot be over emphasized.
5. Effects of waste on global warming: Everyone knows that reducing waste is good for the environment because it conserves natural resources. What many people don't know is that solid waste reduction and recycling also have an impact on global climate change. The manufacture, distribution, and use of products—as well as management of the resulting waste—all result in greenhouse gas emissions. Greenhouse gases, which trap heat in the upper atmosphere, occur naturally and help create climates that sustain life on our planet. Increased concentrations of these gases can contribute to rising global temperatures, sea level changes, and other climate changes.
The 3-steps to achiving the above gains can be summerized as follows:
Step 1. Collection and Processing
After recyclables are collected at the curb or from a drop-off center, haulers take them to a materials recovery facility, where they are sorted and baled.
Step 2. Manufacturing
Once they are cleaned, separated, and baled, recyclables are remanufactured into new products. Many consumer products, such as newspapers, aluminum and steel cans, plastic containers and other plastic products, and glass bottles, are now manufactured with total or partial recycled content.
Step 3. Purchasing Recycled Products
Purchasing recycled products completes the recycling loop. By "buying recycled," governments, businesses, and individual consumers each play an important role in making the recycling process a success
Procedure for implementing the gains sound Waste Management Principles
Fig. 3: Steps to achive WM gains
The application of sound Waste Management techniques can no doubt lead to Sustainable Development and job creation. As a youth seated here and listening to me;
Enough of “no Job” syndrome.
Enough of violence as a means to drive home need for government attention and development.
Enough of criminality
As change agents, we should start a local recycling program today. Your first step should be to get in touch with recycling coordinators, government officials and or authorities in your area, or communities who have information on local recycling resources and set your objectives and priorities.
We all need consensus commitment with government leading the way through providing, propagating and fostering the enabling fiscal, economic, social environments including the implementation of a favourable legal framework that will support the process. Government must be ready to provide the land for building economic waste management infrastructures. This done, we are certain that investors will be willing to take advantage of the opportunity to invest in waste management in this state and indeed, in Nigeria. There is a huge opportunity here in Delta State to create thousands of jobs, clean up our cities and create a healthy environment that will facilitate the eradication of diseases, promote good health and improve the quality of life of our people.
Thank you for the opportunity to present this paper at this forum and for listening to me.
this paper was presented at my recently concluded youth summit in Warri,Niger Delta Nigeria