Experts have urged Nigerian entrepreneurs to leverage technology in creating innovative solutions to tackle waste in the country.
The experts who spoke during the Innovation Fair & Circular Economy Exhibition said that building a circular economy that leverages technology delivers economic growth, jobs, and positive environmental outcomes for the country.
“Today’s world is investing heavily in digital innovation and the plastic recycling value chain cannot afford to play catch up, thus the need to develop cutting edge digital innovations with the ability to not only drastically reduce the amount of plastic in our environments, but also create a sustainable and viable economy for the value chain,” said Thuweba Diwani, head of the project, digital transformation centre, GIZ.
“By leveraging on technology, the process of collecting, processing, and upscaling plastic waste into valuable goods will become more seamless and the environment will be better for it,” he said.
He called for collaborative efforts in ensuring that less and less plastic enters the country’s oceans and environment to allow the recovery of aquatic and other ecosystems.
According to him, Lagos alone has an average daily plastics generation of 2,250 tons, which adds up to 821,250 tons annually.
He noted that if 50 percent of the waste generated daily in Lagos is recycled, the country will have N41 billion in potential industry. He stressed that less than 10 percent of the plastic is currently being recycled with the rest ending up in oceans and the environment.
He stated that the potential in the industry can be fully exploited when innovation and technology play a pivotal role.
“Digital innovation will increase the efficiency of existing technologies and it will attract many young people to the value chain,” he said.
“Not only would the circular economy increase, but jobs will be created, entrepreneurship opportunities will be created, incomes will improve, and the increasing adoption of these technologies would ultimately result in more plastic being recycled.”
According to him, innovation makes the plastic problem become an opportunity for national development.
Speaking also during the exhibition, Olatunbosun Alake, special adviser to the governor on innovation and technology, Lagos State said the country and Lagos must collectively leverage innovation and technology to resolve the issue of waste in the environment.
“Lagos must leverage digital innovation to aid recycling by efficiently connecting consumers, waste collectors, and recyclers; Reduction by engaging consumers on ways to cut down resource usage, and redesigning by optimizing processes,” Alake who was represented by Akeem Hassan said.