In today’s world, waste disposal and management have become more than ever before, an issue of global importance because of its impact on the environment. More importantly, however, is the issue of hazardous waste that requires special attention. Driven by an increasing level of environmental awareness, public demand for social and environmental responsibility is high on the agenda for all today.
It is clear, a lot of work is required in a country like ours, to bring sanitation level up above the minimum standard that is acceptable. This is still an area in which facilities managers can help improve environmental performance. The government, corporate bodies and individuals should increase their attention to waste management.
Many everyday items that are in constant use throughout the commercial, residential, leisure as well as industrial areas are classified as hazardous waste and may be harmful to the environment as well as human health.
Knowing how to dispose of these items safely and sustainably makes good business sense. Items classified as hazardous include bulbs and UV lamps, chemical wastes such as printer toner, alkaline batteries, aerosols and redundant or broken electrical and electronic equipment like kettle, television, microwave and toaster. Others include asbestos, pesticides and medical waste such as needles and scalpels. Helping businesses and the public to learn about the wide variety of waste items that are classed as hazardous is only part of the challenge.
Facilities management companies should partner customers and communities to provide waste disposal and recycling solutions. The collection, managing and disposal of waste materials should be made easy, cost effective and value driven particularly at a time when budgets are being closely monitored than ever before. These solutions should be simple and inexpensive to implement, easy to use and understood by customers.
Facilities Management companies should not overlook the importance of the customer’s moral and legal obligations in providing their waste management services. There are various international regulations in place to which Nigeria subscribes. A couple of such regulations are ILO convention on the safety in the use of chemicals at the work place of 1990 and FAO International Code of Conduct for the distribution and use of pesticides (as amended in 1989). There are also local environmental sanitation laws in place.
Waste management is an area of growing importance and as the demand for sustainable solutions in all types of businesses increase, effective management of hazardous waste is becoming even more and more important. This is integral to achieving corporate social and environmental responsibility targets. Managing hazardous waste is also critical to achieving the ISO 14001 environmental standard.
Recycling and waste management companies must rise to the challenges in an increasingly tough marketplace; in a nutshell, the industry must deliver more. The practical, long-term solution will be services tailored to meet customers’ specific requirements. These services should be easy to use, cut unnecessary cost and administration, and must prove to be environmentally sustainable.
Obileye is a UK-trained lawyer and CEO, Great Heights Property and Facilities Management Limited Email: [email protected]
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