Nigerians shine at waste to wealth show in India

As experts continue to proffer various solutions to the current economic crisis affecting most countries, two Nigerians have thought out- of- the box on how best to turn waste to wealth, winning  awards in far away India. UMAR BAYO ABDULWAHAB  reports.

The perceived negative image of the country at the global level notwithstanding, one thing that still goes on well for Nigeria is the ability of its citizens to show some prowess and competence in any given pursuit.
The recent appointment of Nigerian businessman based in the US,,Adebayo Ogunlesi,  by the country’s President-elect, Donald Trump, into  his yet-to-be inaugurated government, clearly shows the abundance of human resource Nigeria  proudly boasts of.
As a  further demonstration of the feat and creativity of Nigerians, two trained engineers  each won the prestigious “Excellent Paper Award” at the recently  concluded 6th International Conference on Solid Waste Management (IconSWM 2016) held in India.
They are Dr Adeniyi Saheed Aremu, a Senior Lecturer at the Department of Water Resources and Environmental Engineering, University of Ilorin, Kwara state and Engr. Olasunkanmi M. Ojowuro of the Lagos State Waste Management Authority (LAWMA), Lagos state.
The conference, which is the biggest sustainable conference platform of the International Society of Waste Management, Air and Water (ISWMAW), started in 2009 in India and working for the improvement of solid waste management and protection of the environment.
The 6th IconSWM 2016 was held between November 24 and 26, 2016 at the Gandhi Bhaban and TEQIP Complex in Jadavpur University, Kolkata, West Bengal India.
Over 250 delegates from different countries participated in the conference and deliberated on various issues relating to innovation and implementation of sustainable solid waste management, segregation, collection, transportation of waste, treatment technology, policy and strategies, energy recovery, life cycle analysis, climate change, research and business opportunities.

The papers by the two Nigerians were nominated during the conference based on content and quality of paper/research, and the theoretical/implementation/conceptual relevance.
The two “Excellent Paper Award” recipients from Nigeria were announced by Prof. Sadhan K. Ghosh, the chairman of IconSWM 2016 at the valedictory session. By this feat, the awardees are now  automatic members of the International Scientific Committee (ISC) on solid waste management.

Aremu’s winning paper was titled “Waste to Energy: Developing Countries’ Perspective”. The paper conceptualises the daily volume and energy value of wastes from developing countries as 4.2 million tons and 9.87 x 109kWh respectively.
With rising solid waste generation and energy poverty in developing countries, the paper suggests investment in the Waste to Energy (WTE) sector, and stresses that the global market for thermal and biological WTE technologies may grow to about $29.2 – $80.6 billion by 2022.
Ojowuro’s victorious paper centres on the “case study” category and it attempts to characterize solid wastes from different parts of Lagos metropolis in Nigeria. In the study “It is estimated that about 13,000 metric tonnes of solid waste is generated daily in Lagos State from various human activities”.
According to the paper, composition studies showed slight disparity in several solid wastes samples sorted by land use type, population density and income level in Lagos State.  The paper highlights the exemplary efforts by LAWMA to manage wastes in Nigeria and recommends source separation of wastes in line with global best practices.
It notes that LAWMA which has been in existence since 1991, is the agency responsible for solid waste storage, collection, disposal and management of landfills in Lagos State.
“In 2013, LAWMA was endorsed by the United Nations Centre for Regional Development (UNCRD) as West Africa’s Sub-regional Secretariat of the International Partnership for Expanding Waste Management Services of Local Authorities (IPLA).
“The agency is also responsible for sanitation of major highways and street sweeping activities, monitoring of contractors’ (Private Sector Participants) activities, and establishment of performance standards on waste management activities in Lagos State,” Ojowuro submits.
The inclusion of private waste collectors under the Private Sector Participant (PSP) scheme, he further contends,  has tremendously improved solid waste collection within the megacity.
“Therefore, there is the need to characterize solid wastes coming from different parts of the city so as to obtain base line information for its efficient management,” he also argues.
At a time like this when the nation presently faces acute challenges, it behoves on the nation’s leadership to work towards managing both the human and material resources effectively. Besides, research should be given the right of place if Nigeria is truly to get out of the multifaceted problems that presently confront its people. Without doubt, Nigeria needs to tap into the many Aremus and Ojowuros in its fold to wriggle out of the present economic quagmire.