We cannot have equilibrium in this world with the current inequality and destruction of MOTHER EARTH. Capitalism is what is causing the problem and it needs to end - Evo Morales.
Waste materials at some point are derivatives of certain raw materials, and there are primary and secondary uses of all natural resources. Most waste materials in contemporary times are re-usable if properly recycled, but this seems to function more in the western part of the world.
The indiscriminate litter and refuse disposal in Nigeria has reached a seemingly high level, with little or no pragmatic approach to recycling. I started hearing about recycling as a child, it appears on almost all perishables/consumables i.e. Sachet water, Bottled Soda, Biscuits, Cookies, to mention a few, but I rarely see people practice this. It is more of a regulatory custom to include it on signage and production materials but pragmatic practices are limited.
Recycling is as important to environmental sustainability as sanitation. Testimonials of positive environmental advantages of recycling are all over both new and traditional media materials, though only in societies where proper recycling is being practiced. Recycling allows humans to preserve and re-use potentially useful materials and also reduces to the barest minimum, consumption of newer raw materials. It is also pertinent to know that by recycling, we help our communities, environment and humanity at large to save or reduce usage of financial resources, energy and natural resources.
“Recycling Steel and Tin cans saves 74% of the energy used to produce them”.
In recent times, there have been campaigns from individuals, corporate bodies/organizations, state and non-state actors etc. concerning the climate change and the supposed threats to humanity. Well, I was not around in the 1970s but history has it recorded that a global cooling which was supposed to usher the world into a massive ice age was predicted back then with verifications by theories and experiments from over 60 scientific outlets. The world has survived - key word being “Survived” this far. Now the world is faced with a much more dangerous imminent threat of “Global Warming”, because of certain recurring effects of human’s nonchalant attitude towards preservation of the environment and its sustainability.
Many most times result to indiscriminate burning of all waste materials forgetting about disposal advice from the manufacturer or regulatory bodies. I have personally witnessed burning of soda bottles (Polyvinylchloride) in residential areas of Nigeria; even though this exposes humans and the environment to carbon monoxide, dioxins and furans.
“Carbon monoxide is highly poisonous and lethal, while previous studies have related dioxins and furans to cancer and respiratory diseases” - CaraHealth, 2016.
The habit of recycling is more prominent in human minds than in practice. The perspective of abundance of all resources and no dire need for management of natural resources kills the environment daily, even faster than notable environmental challenges in recent times.
However, we still have opportunities for change. Sometimes ago, I acted in the capacity of an observer at a tech competition in Lagos, Nigeria and I was impressed to see that one of the teams developed a web application that allows users to call the attention of waste management bodies or interested individuals to indiscriminate disposal of recyclables. Though they did not win the competition, but for me, they had the most sustainable plan and project in the competition.
World governments and existing environmental stakeholders have over the years had summits, meetings, discussions and sorts on issues that affect the environment but it saddens the heart to see that all these issues persist. So this leaves us with two options “Billions of World currencies invested in environmental talks have run to waste” or “Vital issues are treated as trivial”-highlighted is my best guess.
Opportunities for Change
The long existed recycling campaign should be jump-started, but with a more pragmatic approach; “practices more than theories” and also educating the end users of all recyclables to understand that the three arrows icon (Reduce, Reuse and Recycle) which appears on most of the consumables is not a joke. I believe civil societies can really help, especially in Nigeria. Certain civil societies and social enterprises have shown optimal and some excellent performances in carrying out their outlined objectives, i.e. EiENigeria, Paradigm Initiative, BudgIT, ARFH, WeCyclers etc. though most of them operate outside the contest of this discussion but it is an assurance that CSOs/NGOs will deliver with proper training and support.
Second to this is a waste to wealth initiative, the 2017 edition of the Office of the Citizen Hackaton 2.0, a group worked on an application that allows people to call on constituted authorities and designated agencies for proper disposal or excavation of waste dumps. In my opinion, such technology should be taken up by potential sponsors with the inclusion of individuals who are interested in “Dirt to Wealth Initiative”. These are people who already have access to both intellectual and technological know-how of proper recycling; and are willing to not only recycle waste for their personal gains but also educate others on the benefits of proper recycling to the health, wealth and earth.
Reduce♼ Re-Use♼ Recycle♼