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Make waste separation compulsory
Published on: Sunday, May 14, 2023
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SEVERAL states are yet to adopt the Act 672 (Solid Waste and Public Cleansing Management Act 2007).

This Act makes it compulsory for solid waste separation at source, with each household and business owner separating their waste into two groups – recyclable and residual – at their premises.

Recyclable waste includes paper, plastics, glass, aluminium cans, iron, metal, electronic and textile waste.

Residual waste includes dirt and food waste.

These remaining states should adopt Act 672 as soon as possible to protect the health of the people as well as the environment.

The negative consequences of not having a system for solid waste separation at source include:

> Deterioration of public health from exposure to waste that contains toxic elements and those that are non-biodegradable, which can cause skin irritation and growth problems, among other diseases;

> Pollution of water sources due to leakage of waste from landfills into nearby rivers. This in turn damages the ecosystem and threatens the aquatic life in those water sources. Local communities dependent on those water sources will also be exposed to various types of diseases;

> Air pollution due to harmful waste management practices such as open burning, which releases greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide and carbon monoxide;

> Soil pollution due to leakage of chemical substances from toxic waste into the earth, which in turn degrades the soil’s fertility; and

> Landfill constraints because the available landfill sites are not capable of accommodating the ever-increasing amount of solid waste.

On the other hand, having a system for solid waste separation at source:

1. Reduces the amount of waste sent to landfills;

2. Prevents disposal of recyclable materials, thus increasing recycling rates;

3. Improves public health by reducing the amount of toxic and non-biodegradable waste, and ensures safer, more effective management of such waste. The separation of recyclable containers will prevent water stagnation in such containers, which can become breeding grounds for disease-carrying mosquitoes;

4. Reduces environmental pollution and deterioration;

5. The Waste-to-Energy (WTE) process can be implemented throughout the country. Through WTE, energy can be recovered from non-recyclable waste materials by converting them into usable heat, electricity or fuel through a variety of processes;

6. Organic waste can be reused for composting and as fertilisers; and

7. Protects the health of workers who are directly handling the waste.

The Federal Government should therefore urge the remaining states to adopt Act 672 as soon as possible.

JV

- The views expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect those of the Daily Express.

- If you have something to share, write to us at: [email protected]



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