An engineer and waste management expert, Olabode Akindeji-Oladeji, has expressed reservation on the use of dumpsites to dispose off refuse.
Akindeji-Oladeji, who is the Chairman/CEO of FIAT International Limited, stated this while speaking at the boot-camp organised by GIS Konsult in Ibadan.
He maintained that the use of dumpsites is archaic, saying such sites can be used to develop prime estates.
He said:”The issue of using dumpsites to dispose waste is archaic. The dumpsite, in itself, has a way of causing environmental pollution; ground water and leachate infiltration and others harm the community and environment. Needless to say, are the emissions of greenhouse gases (GHG), chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), and hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs) to name a few – this occurs from different burnings that goes on at such places. What we are supposed to be looking at is to step away from running dumpsites, but create conversion centres where waste can be converted to useful products and/or recycled.
“In which case, these prime real estates, called dumpsites, can be saved and used as processing plants where products that can help the community will be produced. For instance, organic fertilizer is something that is very important to the agricultural sector. Farming is an issue that we need to push as much as possible. In which respect, the arrangement will make sure that farmers have access to organic fertilizer which will help them with their harvest.
“A product which is fundamental to clean environment is RDF. RDF is an alternative fuel which helps the cement and the steel factories to reduce the emission of dioxins (carbon dioxide, nitrogen dioxide, sulphur dioxide etc.) from their kilns. It is noteworthy that presently, most cement companies in Nigeria use either gas or coal to fire their kilns in the production of cement. But, by the use of RDF, emissions are reduced. We really need to look at the issues of climate change very seriously in Nigeria, because if we don’t, we would continue to see different challenges happening in the system – remember the law of conservation of energy “energy can neither be created nor destroyed, but can only be transferred or changed from one form to another”.
“Today, we see rains falling in October and November – these are issues of climate change. In and around here, we waltz over these kinds of issue because we don’t pay attention. We need to start paying attention to the issues of climate change and the environment, because when the climate changes the environment is not sustainable, and interestingly the seasons change. Therefore, we would not get rains when we are supposed to – these affects the farmers as they are not able to plant at the right time and harvest at the right time. We need to remember that there is a seed time and harvest. So, we need to tie into the engagement.
“Another very interesting and important product that can be derived from waste utilization is electricity. We all know and understand that we are lacking and in short supply of power in Nigeria. The need to, therefore, engage alternative fuel sources like RDF to produce power is definitely an attractive opportunity that can be achieved from waste utilization. The creation of energy from waste (EfW) is a critical advantage to engage as waste provides the fundamentals to produce quantum power to operate equipment at industries, commercial centers, government establishments and residential communities. Municipal Solid Waste(MSW) speaks to renewable energy sources and qualifies for the SDG-7 clean energy program. The engagement of waste in this respect creates a circular economy as all waste taken to the facility is effectively used in the creation of products with low carbon footprints.
“FIAT is presently rolling out the waste conversion project (WCP) which is primarily an environmental engineering and waste management initiative that is being deployed across Nigeria. Practically, we have developed an environmental resource management (ERM) company that would help the country to manage the collection, transportation and disposal of waste in different cities.”
Akindeji-Oladeji added: “We understand the challenge posed by the lack of an efficient waste collection system and more so a sustainable waste disposal strategy in Nigeria. You see waste litters everywhere and unfortunately or interestingly; these wastes can be utilized for different other things. But primarily because of health issues, these waste needs to be cleaned up. The World Health Organization (WHO) makes a point of note that the collection of waste has a direct impact on primary healthcare – various diseases are escalated from poor waste collection, to include Cholera, Lassa Fever and other infectious and vector-borne diseases. So, whether we like it or not, we need to develop an effective way to collect and dispose waste in our environment.
“The major challenge with waste collection in Nigeria is that the densely populated inner-city dwellers, who do not have a structured way of disposing waste, are unfortunately discouraged to pay for waste collection. So, a critical need arises to proffer solution to waste collection in the inner-city where waste collectors insist are not viable and therefore lack patronage. Unlike the urban city dwellers who subscribe to waste collection, and for which Nigerian PSPs battle to take the routes, payment for waste collection are practically guaranteed even though the payments are mostly delayed. In this respect, the big problem that we really have is waste collection in the inner city, where the dwellers generate quantum of waste and for which the lack of proper disposal causes flooding and other environmental pollution. In this regards, we have designed a strategy to efficiently undertake waste collection from inner city dwellers and undertake a cradle to grave approach for which effective waste disposal shall be achieved at our planned integrated waste management facility where waste shall be converted to power, organic fertilizer and refuse derived fuel(RDF).
“Today, we are in discussions with several state governments, and are in the process to conclude a planned implementation with the Oyo State Government to take over a dumpsite; remediate the existing in-situ waste and groundwater, while converting the waste that is coming to the dumpsite into useful products; WC-Power, Nouveau-F and Wastefuels. What we are saying to government is to understand where the environment is going and to look at on-boarding waste utilization policies such that appropriate environmental mitigants are put in place to positively impact the community and make sure that waste is properly disposed.”