Zero recycling culture undermines Nigeria’s climate change push

Nigeria’s efforts to mitigate global warming is dragging due to a lack of recycling culture among its citizens, according to waste operators in the country who warned that the trajectory was hazardous to health outcomes in Africa’s most populous nation.

Nigeria generates large quantities of solid waste every year. According to a United Nations Industrial Development Organisation report, Nigeria generates over 32 million tonnes of waste annually with plastic accounting for 2.5 million tonnes.

The waste operators, speaking at the BusinessDay Africa Business Convention 2023, said early education and awareness are needed to make positive changes.

“We need to focus on climate education by teaching kids in primary and secondary schools on how to manage the waste they generate,” said Arese Lucia Onaghise, General Secretary of Food and Beverage Recycling Alliance.

She said that waste compensation management organisations should be leveraged on to entice the adults whose habits are hard to change.

Read also: Business leaders say underinvestment, structural challenges holding Africa back

“Government policy is also a fundamental driver of curbing waste into the ecosystem. Nigeria needs to be proactive,” said Onaghise.

Nigeria is among the top 20 nations that contribute 83 percent of the total volume of land-based plastic waste that ends up in the oceans.

According to a World Bank report, each Nigerian generates an estimated 0.51 kilogrammes of Waste daily. it is forecasted to rise to 107 million tonnes by 2050.

“We have to maintain awareness and sensitivity on how to start salvaging this situation,” said Ifeanyi Ochonogor, CEO of Eterra Technologies.

He said focus should generally be on wastes as heaps of electronic refuse are found on landfills in Nigeria.

“They are toxic to our health and the ecosystem,” said Ochonogor. “We need to open our minds for the survival of the human race and the entire planet.”

Skip to toolbar