Monday, May 10, 2010

Challenges of Waste Management in Anambra State

THE urbanization trends and industrialization in Africa have led to a rapid growth in the volume of waste generated in the continent’s cities. Municipal solid waste management is one of the most crucial environmental challenges facing developing countries. In most countries, the urban population is growing faster than the urban authorities’ capacity for waste collection and disposal, a condition which has led to inadequate waste management. In Nigeria, waste management is inadequate and ineffective in many urban and rural areas as reported by the Federal Environmental Protection Agency (FEPA, 1992) in its’ report for United Nation Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED). The main version of the National Assessment Report for the World Summit in Sustainable Development (2002) declared that Nigerian cities are considered among the dirtiest in the world. An overall assessment of Anambra state with respect to solid waste management reveals that our state has not improved from the general status of country unlike states like Lagos, Cross River, Enugu, Imo and others who have attained a commendable environmental status. No wonder, the problem of waste has remained a topical issue and a great challenge to the government and the people.
STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM Anambra State is a densely populated commercial centre which simply implies that the tremendous amount of waste generated would continue to increase exponentially and deface the environment unless a practical communication plan with attendant administrative financial and legal reform is put in place. The state has been found wanting in the aforementioned conditions, hence the proliferation of heaps of wastes all over the urban and semi-urban centres. The major problems leading to inadequate waste management in the state are categorized below according to ANSEPA, government and the people.
ANSEPA * There is a serious confusion in ANSEPA * ANSEPA is people rich and activity poor. There use to be about 148 core staff and 360 casuals, still urban cities are in the state of environmental emergency * Crisis management as opposed to proper planning * Lack of understanding of roles/responsibilities leading to over centralization of decisions * Weak monitoring, no checks and balances * Poor coordination of road sweepers * Non existence of drain ducks * No functional enforcement mechanism * Some functionaries especially are not trained leading to damage of equipment and man-hour loss * Non mapping of collection points/absence of motorized bins along the streets and unavailability of waste bins at strategic points. GOVERNMENT * Non-payment of salaries and allowances in ANSEPA which affects productivity * Lack of political will to take pertinent decisions on issues pertaining to waste management * Inadequate funding of the sector * Lack of equipment * Outdated edicts * Non existence of databank on waste management * Lack of Environmental/solid waste management plan * No enforcement mechanism put in place to combat laxity and non-compliance to “polluter-pay-principle” * Inability to map out additional dumpsites * Instability of ANSEPA (No definite host ministry) * Non existence of environmental public awareness strategy * High level of inconsistency in allocating areas of coverage to PSPs. * No exclusive structure belonging to ANSEPA to allow for adequate security, monitoring and control of movement of both workers and visitors. PUBLIC * Non payment of sanitation levy * Indiscriminate disposal of waste * Ignorance of the impact of poor waste management on their health and their environment
All these have resulted in reckless dumping of refuse by all and sundry, rendering streets impassable, thereby disrupting both human and vehicular traffics. These have translated into loss of productive man-hours and also resulted in spread of diseases, flooding and poor aesthetics to most of our urban cities. From the foregoing one could see that government has been making ineffectual attempts to solve waste management problems. ANSEPA as an arm of the government charged with this responsibility is moribund. The people too have failed to contribute their quota. Hence everybody is guilty. THE WAY FORWARD

ANSEPA There is need for:- * Immediate stabilization of leadership * Examination and revision of organizational structure, staffing plans and job description of the personnel. * Proper definition of roles and strategic decentralization of activities * Immediate mapping out of collection points * Introduction of verifiable and reliable accounting systems via automated billing systems * Evacuation of hazardous wastes and non hazardous waste differently * Training and retraining of their staff. Government o Urgent payment of ANSEPA staff salaries o Mount refuse bins and dumpsters strategically o Build a complex for ANSEPA to allow for adequate security, monitoring and control of people and equipment o Encourage scavengers and informal waste collectors by forming cooperatives for them and granting them soft loan to operate smoothly and safely o Government should endeavour to put round pegs in round holes when making appointments in this sector because of its sensitive nature. o Carve out waste management board (AWMA) like most states that have made it in waste management and attach it to the office of the Governor for smooth running and easy monitoring. In line with the National policy guidelines on solid waste management should; o Conduct a research to determine per capita waste generation and build database on solid waste management o Establish regulations, sanctions and enforcement mechanisms for solid waste management from source generation to the point of disposal o Develop a solid waste management plan as a state blue print for effective solid waste management o Evolve a realistic and sustainable funding mechanisms o Create public awareness and sensitization campaign on efficient solid waste management practices o Enact current and relevant state legislations o Support the provision of logistics including financial instruments to facilitate PSPs in solid waste management. O Establish a consultative forum with members of the public (community participation) to build consensus on appropriate strategies and build bridges between the government, the informal sector and the private sector. o Procure equipments for efficient waste evacuation PUBLIC People should:- * Be patriotic enough to pay for sanitation levies because their erroneous perception of waste disposal as a full welfare service has really jeopardized the little efforts made by the government * Adopt environmentally friendly habits and practices * Comply with existing legislations on waste management * Maintain sanitary dustbins in their homes and offices * Cooperate with informal waste collectors and scavengers where applicable. If a reasonable percentage of these recommendations are considered, the environmental status of this state will surely improve, now that LAGA is around and are working hard to upgrade the face of our immediate environment at least at Onitsha. The responsibility of solid waste management must be vested on people who have the passion to do rescue the deplorable environmental condition of the state and NOT people who are there only to make money. The public must be made to realize that the solid waste management is the duty of both the government and the governed. I will conclude this paper by giving us the Ten Commandments of a waste manager which goes thus:- TEN COMMANDMENTS OF A WASTE MANAGER 1. I am thy waste manager, please keep your environment clean and heed to my advice 2. Thou shall have a waste bin in your house 3. Thou shall not throw away litters indiscriminately or from moving vehicles 4. Thou shall not empty your wastes into the drains or on unauthorized dumps 5. Thou shall pay your sanitation levies/rates regularly so as to assist the government in financing prompt and efficient waste evacuation 6. Honour your health and environment by supporting cleanliness and the beautification of your environment 7. Thou shall observe the sanitation days faithfully by working on your environment 8. Thou shall clear the gutter around your residence and work place to reduce spread of diseases and flooding 9. Gather recyclables and create wealth for yourself 10. Love your neighbour by calling him to order with love when he fails to adhere to these rules.

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