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Poor solid waste management seems to have defied solutions introduced by several administrations in the pace setter state, Oyo State. This is even glaringly so, with the growing population in the State. Some say, the enabling environment Governor Seyi Makinde’s administration has given to businesses to thrive, must have resulted in the inflow of businesses and people into the State. However, the poor waste management habits of the populace has contributed immensely to the messy solid waste management, which is posing a threat to the environment and health of several people. Waste management in Oyo State is the most pressing environmental challenge especially in urban areas. With the state’s exponential population growth and general changing consumption patterns, waste management will continue to be of grave concern to all.

Truth be told, several administrations have only paid lip service to having a functional waste management plan, claiming that they are in line with global best practices.

Despite a host of policies and regulations by past and present Governments to curb the menace of poor waste management, very little progress has been made across the country.

Indiscriminate dumping of refuse on the median and Road sides by Nigerians has been the order of the day. This has led to increasing illegal dumpsites while refuse heaps have become a common sight in popular recreation centres across the State.

Though not certain, environmental experts said Oyo State is currently generating 4 million tonnes of waste annually at refuse dumpsites across the country.

The poor waste management culture has been having some adverse effects on the environment, while exposing the citizens to serious health challenges.

It is in line with this that the state government, private sector and relevant stakeholders expressed the need for greater attention to be paid to the campaign of turning waste into wealth through an Integrated Waste Management System.

At a point in Oyo State, stakeholders agreed that the issue of indiscriminate waste disposal should be tackled headlong, if the State is to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) regarding the environment.

This led the Chief Executive Officer of the State, Governor Seyi Makinde jettison paper works, files and visitors on a fateful day, when he led the whole state Executive on a operation make Oyo clean mission. This was after he declared a state of emergency in the environmental sector.

In spite of the dwindling economic challenges, the Governor Makinde has ensured he brings the best hands on deck in tackling the waste menace. After different consultants had paid lip services to the waste to wealth initiative, he finally found a truthful one at that, Mottainai Recycling Africa.

Mottainani is coming on board, as a bride whose bride price as just been paid by her groom. It’s mandate is simple, create a clean environment and ensure Oyo State is clean.

Perhaps, being a recycling firm, Mottainai might bring a waste recycling system into Oyo State. First of its kind. The firm’s CEO, Ade Adewuyi once said based on the waste hierarchy, Oyo State had been engaging in the least preferred waste management option: disposal in open dumpsites that are often set on fire. This must stop!

Ade Adewuyi is an entrepreneur who knows what he is up to. He founded Mottainai Africa, a green tech company driven by sustainable environmental solutions for waste creators and a clever business approach for waste managers and governments.

His recycling firm, Mottainai Recycling Africa’s purpose of work is to introduce novelty, smart and intelligent waste management platform that is able to handle the process dynamically and cost effectively. In its approach, Mottainai brings about strategic and effective mechanism for regular waste pick-ups (On-demand and scheduled), saving enormous cost on garbage bills up to 35%, guaranteeing direct access to recyclables for end users and closing the loop of the circular economy by putting that waste back into production as an asset.

The firm, leverages on technology, by creating smarter tools every day to enhance its ability to provide a superior experience.

The entry of Mottainai into the State’s waste management system will be a morale booster. The firm is known for its adherance to global best practice in waste management. The firm may introduce a brilliant method of managing waste: Recycling and energy recovery, since not all wastes can be recycled.

Constitutionally, states and local governments that should be responsible for the management of municipal wastes, but this has failed.

This intervention plan of bringing a thorough bred professional waste management company on board, after it discovered that there was huge deposit of waste across the State at unauthorized places, is one of the best policies of this present administration.

According to the Federal Ministry of the Environment, Nigeria generates some 32 million tonnes of waste per year, among the highest in Africa. Of the waste generated yearly, 2.5 million tonnes is plastic waste, most of which (70 percent) ends up in landfills, sewers, beaches and water bodies.

Mottainai discovered that much of the solid waste generated across the State litter the environment, block drainage, causing flooding and air pollution.

The United Nations has projected that Nigeria’s 200 million population will double by 2050. This means things could get much worse for the country if this issue is not addressed.

In response to this challenge, Mottainai Recycling Africa embarked on an aggressive state-wide evacuation of waste. This solid waste management policy, though, it could be herculean, is tackling the issue of waste disposal and facilitate the conversion of these wastes to wealth. The impact is being felt, especially in the hinterlands, such as Mapo, Beere, Ogunpa, Oja’ba, where the rate of waste generation is perhaps triple that of the main city.

“The policy has had some impacts but not nearly enough,” said a passerby, who I interrogated.

The reality is that the growing population and increased consumption is producing large amounts of waste, and this needs to be more effectively handled before it causes more impact on the environment.

At this juncture, it is pertinent the State Government enforces, thorugh legislation and execution of laws that will be binding. With more enforcement of laws in the State, Oyo will be clean. In terms of legislation, more enforcement is needed.

There has to be specific regulations, especially in terms of single-use plastics. This must be put under very strict control and in some cases, banned. It might seem inconvenient to do and it might mean certain businesses would lose profits but, a business cannot continue to put profit ahead of people and the planet. It is wrong!

For sustainable development in the waste sector, it is time for Oyo State to implement the polluter’s pay principle.

According to reports, The ‘polluters pay’ principle is the commonly accepted practice that those who produce pollution should bear the costs of managing it to prevent damage to human health or the environment.

For instance, in the Western world, there is a law that any company that uses more than 50,000 kilogrammes of single-use packaging material must pay a fee.

While admitting that Waste Management is quite capital intensive and the government needs to provide whooping million for its smooth running, however we all would boast of a functional system, when we all comply.

It is however essential that we involve in the best practice, which is to promote waste reduction, reuse and recycling.

Olamide Adeniji is a blogger and PR Expert based in Ibadan, Oyo State capital

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