By Ekemini Simon
A non-governmental organisation, Environmental Rights Action/Friends of the Earth Nigeria (ERA/FoEN) has offered insight into how Akwa Ibom State can attain the state of a zero waste society.
This was made known at a zero waste academy- training on zero waste methodologies held on Tuesday, March 15, 2022 in Uyo.
In a presentation by the Program Manager, of the Organisation Ubrei-Joe Mariere on ” Implementation strategy and recommendation for zero waste programme”, Mariere said for Akwa Ibom State to attain the state of zero waste, it was imperative for work in three phases which are; waste prevention and reduction, waste management and treatment, and monitoring and assessment.
The Program Manager said it was time for the Oil rich State to deliberately implement the plans outlined in the organisation’s zero waste guideline which he assured would aid the state to turn her waste to wealth.
Some of the action plans recommended at the waste prevention and reduction stage include; inclusion of waste education programmes at the school curriculum and organisation of awareness promotional programmes on waste avoidance and reduction.
Others are planning hands-on training and knowledge sharing programmes (short-term and long-term) that motivate behaviour change, coupled with the need to enable global citizenship initiatives through responsible shopping and consumption behaviour.
He added ” There is a need to introduce mandatory take-back schemes for producers, especially for hazardous and non-disassembly products. Also, re-use and repair activities to expand the use-life of post-consumer products should be introduced.
Mariere said at the waste management and treatment level, there will be the need to introduce three bin and kerbside collection systems so as to improve waste sorting, recycling and collection efficiency.
He recommended the establishment of both community based and remote recycling facilities in urban precincts.
The Program Manager added ” Pay as you throw (PAYT) scheme to promote source reduction should be introduced. Various economic incentives policies such as refund and levies on existing landfills should be introduced.
” Generated funds should be used to develop the value chains of biodegradable (compost) and non biodegradable waste (plastic, glass).”
He advised the State to enforce the principles of Expanded Producer Responsibility (EPR) on industries thus ensure that they are responsible for their used package that litters the environment stressing that enforcing EPR compliance on companies is also a revenue model for the State.
Mariere offered insight to the fact that at the level of monitoring and assessment, implementation of waste data collection and monitoring systems is necessary at the city/municipal level for building a national waste database.
He added that national and international collaborative zero waste research activities should be promoted.
Earlier, the Executive Director of ERA/FoEN, Mr. Chima Williams said there is urgent need for each society to take conscious steps towards actualisation of zero waste system.
Presented by the Head Port Harcourt Office of ERA, Kentebe Ebiaridor, he said if urgent steps are not taken, many societies would be worse hit by climate change.
He said owing to the high quantum of waste generated there is no way the State would not have generated billions of naira from her waste and also provide more employment opportunities especially green jobs to her citizens.
The Executive Director stated that ERA/FoEN is poised to partner with state actors and the Akwa Ibom community to ensure the State attains the zero waste society.