Apart from Lagos being the busiest city in Nigeria, Lagos is also known for its traffic jam induced roads. In traffic, another aspect of Lagos life is made manifested – the hawking lifestyle. Almost all household needs are made available in traffic; a mini market. Commuters are usually found patronising the hawkers from purchasing edible products to durable products. The wraps of most of the edible products are usually found littering the roads as most commuters drop them on the road after consuming their contents.
Wastes are everywhere and will continue to exist as long as the earth and human remains. Wastes multiply with increasing population. Solid wastes unlike non solid wastes don’t decay easily and some of them continue to exist for thousands of years.
Despite the operation of the Lagos state Waste Management Agency which helps in refuse collection, wastes are still indiscriminately dumped around. Some of these wastes are thrown into canal and drainages which obstructs the flow of water during rainy season and result into flooding along routes prone to flooding.
The indiscriminate dumping of wastes like waste rubber tires are found to serve as breeding ground for mosquitoes and rodents which are known to spread malaria and other related diseases. They are also known to contribute to pollution. Disposing wastes through burning are found to emit several toxic gases into the atmosphere which are dangerous to human health while some wastes also emit greenhouse gases into the atmosphere when burned thereby contributing to climate change. It has also been found that marine animals are also getting affected by the indiscriminate dumping of wastes; marine animals are dying by taking in plastic wastes which are indigestible.
Our world is changing rapidly every day with each New Year becoming the hottest year on record. According to World Meteorological Organisation, 2014 is the hottest year on record with 0.570C above 1961-1990 average. The impacts of waste and other manmade activities are already telling on the entire planet. Typhoon Hagupit which occurred in Philippines last year could have resulted into a big tragedy but it was averted as a result of an early prediction and as a result of a very good disaster preparedness approach the government of Philippines used through evacuating people away from the region of the predicted Typhoon Hagupit before it eventually occurred.
Waste management remains a largely untapped venture in Africa. There are nations and individuals around the globe that are already capitalising on waste management to create wealth.
Waste management has tremendous advantages as it involves the reuse and recycling of wastes for sustainability – wastes are either repackaged and resold to people who disposed them in the first place or recycled into other useful products.
Apart from creating wealth from waste by using it to improve the standards of living of people, waste management is also essential to minimise environmental impact of indiscriminate dumping of wastes, maximize conservation of natural resources, stop continuous depletion of the ecosystem, and also see to the cutting of carbon and other greenhouse gases which contributes to climate change.
Our world becomes safer and our lives healthier and wealthier with waste management.
Photo credit: channelstv