REDUCE, REUSE, “RECYCLE”?
All over the world, it is now fashionable to conserve resources. The more efficient you are at reducing the quantity of waste you generate, the better. Beyond just being fashionable, it is also promoted for health and environmental reasons. Although most countries have the reduce, reuse, recycle practice down, it is no surprise that Nigeria is still struggling to implement a working system. In recent times, in our very own community, Engelbert Beyer Centre, popularly known as Catholic Hostel, attempted to adopt the practice of recycling.
This involved labelling wastebins so paper, plastic, and organic waste could be disposed of separately and appropriately. It was laudable, to say the least. However, it appears it was an exercise in futility. The Municipal Waste Disposal workers do not have an environmentally friendly refuse disposal system in place that ensures recycling occurs where needed. If they do have one, they definitely have not been seen utilizing it. All waste is dumped into the garbage truck in one accord, without regard for whether or not it is recyclable.
A couple of years ago, Alexander Brown Hall, in conjunction with a recycling company, implemented a system wherein plastic waste generated in the hall was collected and recycled by the partnered company. However, the partnership fell through the cracks over time. This trend of failed attempts begs the question of if recycling is a worthwhile venture in Nigeria and how it should be approached, if it in fact is worthwhile, to create a long-lasting solution.
The newly elected Hall Chairperson disclosed that currently, plastic waste is collected by the cleaners working in the hall who find other uses for it. Although far from efficient, it is perhaps the most common recycling method in Nigeria at large. He further added that the new council is more than willing to partner with companies interested in recycling, provided they come across such an opportunity.
Perhaps the answer lies in constructing an efficient system for the cleaners or in a partnership with a recycling company. It is difficult to say with any certainty. We can only wait, watch, and hope whatever the solution is, it sticks this time.