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Zero Waste Ambassadors Raise Alarm over Multi-billion Naira lost to Poor Waste Management in Akwa Ibom

Zero Waste Ambassadors Raise Alarm over Multi-billion Naira lost to Poor Waste Management in Akwa Ibom

… Accra Waste Management Model Identified as Solution


…Insist Waste Management Law Should be made Public


By Ekemini Simon


Zero Waste Ambassadors (ZeWA) in Akwa Ibom State has raised concern over huge resources lost from lack of conversion of tonnes of waste produced in Akwa Ibom State to wealth.


ZeWA says for years, despite Akwa Ibom State generating over 15,000 tonnes of municipal and household waste daily, the State has failed to utilize her waste and has consequently lost billions of naira.

ZeWA identified poor waste management system as being behind the lost and called on the Akwa Ibom State Government to draw down lessons from Accra Zero Waste Project so as to transform waste generated in the State to wealth.


ZeWA is made up of stakeholders from the relevant waste management sector which Environmental Rights Action/ Friends of the Earth (ERA/FoEN) with support from  Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives (GAIA) has been engaging with towards achieving zero waste in the State.


According to a communiqué issued during a waste parliament held on Thursday in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State has lost huge wealth owing to existing waste management system in the State.


The Parliament advised that adopting the Accra Zero Waste Project as a strategy will remedy the waste to wealth drain and provide employment opportunities for teeming Akwa Ibom persons.


According to the insight offered by Betty Bonsu of the Green Africa Youth Organisation (GAYO), Ghana during her presentation, the Accra Zero Waste Project has been working with the informal waste workers and Small Medium Enterprises (SMEs) to divert waste from landfills while providing jobs for communities.


Bonsu said the partnership is geared towards developing a sound waste management strategy to institute Zero Waste practices across Municipalities in Ghana.


She added ” GAYO’s underlying motivation is to work directly with local communities to reduce the vulnerability of groups that are at risk to climate impacts such as children, youth, and women, who have a comparatively less adaptive capacity due to social and structural inequalities”.


The Parliament resolved that for zero waste to be achieved, it was imperative for waste management to move beyond the sole responsibility of government stressing that all stakeholders should be interested in waste management even as community leaders must be carried along.


Other recommendations read ” There is need for synergy across State Government and Local government authorities on waste management strategy.


“Government must develop and coordinate sustainable waste management ecosystem by developing database of dumpsite/dump points, establish clean-up clubs, develop house to house waste management evacuating scheme and create adequate awareness on waste management through the media.”


On his part, the Program Manager of ERA/FoEN, Ubrei-Joe Mariere observed that in Akwa Ibom State, there is a big gap and questions bordering on various roles to be play by stakeholders especially as citizens who should adhere to waste management laws do not have access to the Akwa Ibom State waste management sanitation laws.


He called on the Akwa Ibom State Government to make Waste Management laws accessible to the citizens pointing out that if such laws are posted on the portal of the State Government or Akwa Ibom State Environmental Protection and Waste Management Agency, (AKSEPWMA) it would go a long way to keeping the people informed about their responsibility in waste management. Mariere added that the Waste Dumpsite in Akpayak Community although no longer in operation was not properly decommissioned hence, the site has remained a health and environmental menace for the community.

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He also identified the new location of dumpsite in Uyo as being below international standard describing it as being closer to community water source and road.
” The Program Manager recommended “Government must decommission dumpsite at Akpayak Community and relocate the new dumpsite to meet international best practice.”


For Head, ERA, Port Harcourt Office, Kentebe Ebiaridor, communities affected by waste must be able to articulate their challenges effectively thus attract attention of relevant authorities.


He assured that the organisation is reviewing the waste management guideline of the State toward addressing gaps in waste enforcement mechanism.


In their respective goodwill massages, GAIA Africa Representative, Desmond Alugnoa and GAIA Nigeria Representative, Leslie Adogame expressed commitment to continue supporting ERA/FoEN in their pursuit of zero waste in Akwa Ibom State.


They commended the organisation for their impact so far in Edo State and some communities in Akwa Ibom State while calling on the parliament not to leave any stone unturned in implementing strategies that will enhance waste to wealth creation.


Also speaking, the Chairaman,  Akwa Ibom State Environmental Protection and Waste Management Agency thanked ERA/FoEN for their passion in making Akwa Ibom State to be waste free.


Represented by his aide, Ime Jacobs, the Chairman said the agency will continue to partner with the organisation and Zero Waste Ambassadors to ensure the project succeeds.


Earlier,  the Executive Director of ERA/FoEN, Barr Chima Williams assured that his organisation is committed towards developing strategies for the effective implementation of the recommendations that will institute the culture of zero waste in Akwa Ibom State.


He said Government among other relevant stakeholders must be deliberate about investment in waste management understanding that if a dumpsite is turned to resource site, everyone in the society will be partakers of the benefits.

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