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#FactFriday: Of waste problems and drama

waste problems - cleanbuild

Hello readers.

Welcome to #FactFriday on CleanbuildVoices!

For today’s special, our fact-finding mission led us to some very interesting, maybe concerning, tidbits on waste problems.

Did you know that the world produces about 2.01 billion tons of waste every year? The following chart segments the different waste types generated and their percentage.

v2 global waste composition
Global waste composition; credit: the world bank

Going by the World Bank’s assessment,  the fastest growing regions are Sub-Saharan Africa, South Asia, and the Middle East, and North Africa, where, by 2050, total waste generation is expected to more than triple, double, and double respectively.

For Sub-Saharan Africa, what this means is that if we don’t step up our waste collection and management systems, the continent just might drown in waste. In Nigeria alone, around 40,959 tons of municipal solid waste is produced per day (14.95 million tons a year). To break down the figures, every Nigerian is responsible for generating an average of 0.65 kg of waste per day. Wow!

If you happen to live in Lagos, you probably are no more surprised at the great amount of filth the city churns out regularly. An estimate puts it around 10,000 to 12,000 tons daily. Inevitably, this causes clashes between agencies for waste management and environmental offenders.

What happened? Recently, the Lagos State Waste Management Agency (LAWMA) reported the arrest of 17 suspects over indiscriminate dumping of refuse and other environmental offenses.

Where it happened: According to Hakeem Akinleye, the agency’s spokesperson, the offenders were caught in the act and arrested by the LAWMA enforcement team across different locations in Lagos such as Abule Egba, Agege, Ayobo, Oyingbo, Ekoro Agbeleka, Ikeja, and Isokoko.

The punishment? Akinleye revealed that the suspects were arraigned before the Lagos Magistrate Court at Oshodi, Isolo Local Government, and were sentenced for various offenses. Out of the 17 environmental offenders, 16 were given one-week imprisonment or a fine of N5,000 for illegal dumping waste and defacing the environment. One of the offenders bagged three months imprisonment or a fine of N100,000 for open defecation.

A cautionary tale: The agency has vowed that it would continue to arrest and prosecute as many of the cart pushers or any individual who violate environmental laws, contributing to waste problems.

Watch this space as we’ll be back for more facts next Friday.

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