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MOVING SOLID WASTE MGT. INTO THE 21ST CENTURY IN NIGERIA

A presentation by

Ossai, r.m. (CEnv)

National president

Waste management society of Nigeria

At

6 st national council on environment meeting

held at

Katsina state secretariat

katsina

13 th 17 th November, 2006

WASTE MANAGEMENT POLICY FOR 21 ST CENTURY NIGERIAN (Concept, Content and Constraint)

Potentially, waste is hazardous and consists of rejects. It therefore follows naturally that it lacks the qualities of perfect-market goods. Consequently, waste management services are generally considered non-productive. It is practically impossible for a non- commercial activity to attract private fund. In the today’s world of private sector driven economy, Nigerian waste management industry is faced with the problem of:

Commercialization of waste management services and cost recovery

Availability of investment capital and infrastructural development.

However, absence of waste management services account for unsanitary condition, high risk of exposure to incidence and spread of diseases and, environmental degradation. Additionally, waste management infrastructure is capital intensive, often times not accepted by public and highly exposed to risk of uncertainty.

Nonetheless, the national aspiration of Nigeria for waste management is achievable with appropriate and well-targeted and integrated policy instruments that will be driven by strong political will, technological innovation and business initiatives. Vertical and horizontal partnership amongst governments and the private sector in the industry is necessary to ensure that the reform agenda of the Government bring a sustainable change to the industry.

Ossai R.M. (MSc; CEnv; MCIWM; CWMgr; MNES; MNIA)

ISWA Certified Int’l Waste Manager

National President: Waste Management Society of Nigeria

Managing Director: The Initiates Ltd.

A) NIGERIAN PROFILE

Waste as it is construed in today Nigeria is anything that lacks utility or object or substance that the owner either voluntarily or involuntarily relinquishes ownership of. It is a potential hazard by virtue of its nature and composition and so its management is a hazardous activity. Thus waste does not possess perfect-market goods quality. Primarily, the objectives of waste management are urban hygiene and environmental protection. Hence the benefit of waste management goes to all. It is a service that is equally available to all members of community. These services when delivered provide a multiplicity of consumption units that are identical and would not be efficient to exclude any member of the community from enjoying them thus; waste management service is an impure public good that nations aspire to achieve to be in tune with growth.

Nigerian waste generation is on the increase at an estimated rate of about 0.5 – 0.7% per annum, with current figures ranging from 0.4 to 0.8 Ton /capita /annum. Waste complexity is also increasing with biodegradable waste currently accounting for over 50%. This amounts to over 50milion tons per annum average waste burden on the nation with less than 10% waste management capacity. This capacity is generally provided and delivered by public sector. Commercialization of this sector has remained a task with poor or no success story throughout Nigeria due to poor national policy framework, infrastructural capacity and manpower. Nigerian development policies have been poorly coordinated and, are highly dominated by economic objectives so, environmental protection is low ranked. Furthermore, bulk of available fund is in government possession resulting in

high rate of corruption and low private sector participation. Consequently, private sector is very weak and unable to deliver basic services like waste management, urban cleansing, housing etc.

Currently less than one percent (1%) of Nigerian GDP is spent annually on waste management and water supply with Lagos and Rivers States leading with a monthly expenditure of about 300 and 100milion naira, respectively on waste collection and disposal. This is far less than the recommended standard of three to five percent (3-5%) of national GDP. Nigeria has over thirty five percent (35%) of her population living in the cities with a growing urbanization rate of about 7% per annum and less than ten percent (10%) of the city populations enjoying marginal waste management services.

The 21 st Century Nigeria is expected to witness technological growth, increased urbanization, private sector controlled economy and environmental awareness. These changes shall be accompanied by increased waste yield and complexity, more public demand for protection from environmental affront and consequently more integrated development policies with increased control of waste management.

B) NATIONAL ASPIRATION

The United Nation Conference on Environment and Development of 1972 (otherwise known as Stockholm’s Conference) and the resulting resolution heralded the new global environmental revolution. This revolution was declared significant to all facets of human life during the Rio Earth Summit

of 1992. Sustainable Waste Management forms a central part of the revolution. The goals as enshrined in Agenda 21 seek the achievement of environmentally sound management through increased safe disposal, recovery of materials and sustainable patterns of production and consumption of goods and services.

The targets of this noble goal are born out of the global objectives of decoupling economic growth from ultimate waste yield, prevention and minimization of hazardous wastes generation using information, economic and regulatory mechanisms. These targets include:

Securing by the year 2000, national, regional and international capacity to access, process and monitor waste information.

Development of programmes and plans by industrialized economies by the year 2000 to stabilize and reduce generation of ultimate waste.

Attaining necessary technical, financial and human resources capacity for waste collection commensurate with need by 2000 and, achieving adequate waste management services for the urban population by 2025 including full services coverage and,

By 2025, it is expected that rural areas should have and adequately maintain sanitation coverage.

Agenda 21 as ratified by Nigeria is a contract between government, businesses and the NGOs to introduce major economic reforms to create enabling environment aimed at progressively internalizing environmental cost of goods and services. Generally, this means paying for the use of environmental resources; both as source of raw materials and as sink for

wastes generated. The contract is to accelerate a unique partnership for change.

In this spirit, Section 20 of the 1999 Nigerian Constitution proclaimed the national environmental aspiration as the protection and improvement of our environment including the land, waters and the atmosphere. A reflection of this proclamation on waste management implies:

responsible waste disposal targeted at protection of our environment

maximization of reuse and recycling potential of waste to enhance environmental resources conservation.

Establishment and upgrading of waste management facilities and, remediation of contaminated sites to propagate environmental improvement.

This requires proper pricing and charging of both producers and consumers of goods and services to instil sensible use of environmental resources. However, this is trivialised by 4 th Schedule of the same Constitution, which casually ascribed the responsibility to Local Government. It is also important to state that Sub-Section ‘h’ of Section 1 of this Schedule merely referred to refuse disposal not waste in its entirety or its management. Waste matters outside incidentals, are residual by virtue of it not appearing in any of the lists in 2 nd Schedule of the Constitution.

The Waste management objectives of 1989 National Environmental Policy are protection of public health and environmental pollution control. The policy stipulates national methods for waste and pollution information development and also prescribes environmental protection as a constitutional duty of all tiers of governments. It clearly proclaims prompt domestication of international legal instruments that Nigeria ratifies.

C) POLICY INSTRUMENT

Environmental revolution has critically made the trend of control very complex by extending waste management issues beyond public health protection and national boundaries. It now extends into private and futuristic interests, international and political arena. In obedience to this, waste management industry has become one of the most controlled in the developed economies. Nevertheless, it is obviously not regulated in most developing economics including Nigeria leading to serious health and long- term environmental liabilities on the nation. Sadly, Nigeria today has no comprehensive policy framework on waste management and so has no nationally acceptable definition of waste.

This paper recognizes this gap and the relationship between control instruments and policy direction hence; the discussion on policy instruments as basic tool. Policy instruments could be principally classed into informative, regulatory and economic. Instruments for provision and delivery of knowledge or awareness in the form of information to make actors more rational in the material flow cycle are informative. Regulatory

maybe administrative or directive-base instrument used to proscribe or allow certain actions, stipulate how certain activities should be conducted or used to distribute responsibility within the chain of material flow, while those that create financial burdens or relief for certain process, product or actions with a view to redirecting either positive or negative incentives are economic instruments. It is important to note that these instruments are not used independent of the other for effectiveness.

The targets of waste management policies in Nigeria should be different from those of the developed countries as control, waste accountability and cost recovery are the challenges of Nigeria Waste Management industry. Mainstreaming of waste policy into every sectors and also into the up and downstream of material cycle are basic requirements for departure from the present situation. As consumer nation, Nigeria should be desirous of policies that are more responsive to product-related waste problems than process-related. Nonetheless, the policies should be highly related to physical development, water resources, raw material, energy and procurement policies.

These policy instruments maybe directed at products, process or actors to stimulate necessary mechanisms for adjusting social pressures. Policy instruments are not limited to waste management, but pressures generated in this sector are special and includes service, protection and control. These pressures are dependent on the adjustment mechanisms of technical capacity, willingness-to-pay, compliance capacity, enforcement capacity, public enlightenment and information disclosure demand.

A conceptual framework of an enduring policy instrument likely to sustain Nigerian aspiration in waste management shall recognize the socio- economic structure of Nigeria, thus structuring responsibilities and jurisdiction in similar manner to minimise friction and improve business environment. This framework shall address the following:

Imposing of physical, informative and financial duties on waste generator and importers or producers of special products.

Technically adopting a stepwise approach that recognizes all technological options in lieu of Waste hierarchy (integrated waste management). This shall ensure that environmental objectives are always balanced and also give room for transitional technology

Develop the concept of provision of service that will gradually shift from Government to waste generator.

Transfer service delivery to private sector who will gradually assume the responsibility of cost recovery.

Encourage development of National professional organization in waste management for establishment of code of conduct and best practices in the industry.

Increase financial incentives to waste manager in terms of duty exemption, investment capital subsidy and tax holidays.

Imposing of secondary raw material content in goods and subsidizing cost of energy generation from waste.

POLICY DRIVER

Waste Management is generally considered as a non-productive process with non-commercial objectives and so requires more than market forces to stimulate private investments in the industry. These explain why, despite proclaimed national aspiration, relevance of Waste Management and above all several governments’ interventions, the Nigerian Waste Management industry has failed to attract commensurate private fund. The industry requires more of mandatory rather than voluntary policies. Imperative therefore are political and economic will. However, technological innovations and business initiatives contributes in accelerating performance of industry policies. In this light, brave political decisions are required in order to implement policy instruments. It is important to note that policy instruments have limited application in Nigerian economic system because of its consumer nature.

Critical to development of a supportive Waste Management Industry for the 21 st Century Nigerian economy is waste accountability through informative policy instrument. This will in no small measure engender the internalization of cost of waste management into goods and services and, will stimulate private investment and encourage sustainable production and consumption.

Waste accountability includes three responsibilities physical, financial and informative. Waste generator shall be physically responsible as the owner of wastes generated. This entails duty to ensure good storage, treatment and responsible disposal. Financially, waste generator shares in the economic burden of managing the waste (from collection to disposal). Waste

generator by this instrument shall be required to render and account of its waste yield to regulators either personally or through the waste managers. This informative instrument shall encourage planning and improve certainties in the industry thereby minimizing investment risks.

Business initiative contributes in awareness raising, information provision, lobbying and networking. Core to business concerns are setting of standards establishment of codes of conducts, voluntary agreements and social reporting. Invariably, these aid governments in moderating commercial objectives for achievement of the primary goals of waste management and further help to secure internal benefits to the public and financial gains to businesses.

Key to Waste Management development also are technological innovations, as waste is increasingly becoming more complex and ecological capital is correspondingly shrinking. Therefore innovation likely to address public needs in terms of material recovery or energy need or that likely to link Waste Management to other sectors; impact on Waste Management policy instruments potency. The aim therefore, of the 21 st Century policy drivers should be to;

assign provision of collection services responsibility to the lowest level of authority (Local Council)

organise large-scale disposal by State Government

increase assessment and monitoring capability and accountability by allocating the responsibility across board.

develop skill and ensure capacity building at all levels

implement best (affordable) user’s charge system.

CONCLUSION

The reforms of the present government and the dictates of the global business environment secure the economy of the 21 st century Nigeria in the hands of private sector. This is not only in the productive sectors but includes the waste management industry. Sequel to this, the economy of the 21 st century Nigeria shall be based on open-market driven cost recovery system, cost effectiveness and efficient service delivery. The implications of this in the waste management industry are competitiveness, accountability, and separation of service provision and delivery.

In developing strategies to engender the above industry qualities, it must be understood that waste management services is the forth public utilities because of the latent ‘public goods” content and is incapable of absolute alienation from government. This means government implicit participation in the industry (either in moderation of cost recovery mechanism, implementing public enlightenment, enforcing and developing standards) is fundamental. Vertical partnership (amongst all tiers of governments) for political commitment, strategic planning, coherent framework and shot- circuiting of unpopular political decisions is an ingredient of this participation. Also Horizontal partnership between public and private sector (for easy public acceptance of facilities, progressive and long-term cost- recovery programme, shared risks, and commercial drive and for efficiency) is a necessary requirement for speedy industry growth.

These strategic requirements of the industry are meant to create a shift from no control to controlled situation, a shift from process to product, a shift from public conception of service as public goods to private goods and

above all development of technical capacity and integration of waste management into national development plan. Practically, this can be initiated by the National Assembly with a Bill of the following content:

Provision of a more functional, transparent and effective institutional arrangement (defining roles of Federal, States and Local governments including streamlining of the multiple Agencies charged with the responsibilities of Waste Management)

Establishment of instruments for waste information system management and coordination

Institutionalizing best practices and high environmental standards, including occupational safety and,

To put measures in place for continuous performance improvement in waste management through the culture of professionalism