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    cross-cultural analysis of sustainable waste management

    by Norris Erhabor 05/25/2019 07:37 AM BST

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      Executive summary 

      The “waste management” reality in most places of the world equals no separation, no controlled collection. Dump your stuff next to the street outside the village, like your ancestors always did, and you are fine. When all the efforts to burn fail (which they usually do), cover the remaining pile with a thin layer of earth and ignore the horrible smell. The method has been around for centuries and it worked very well until recently: Self-sufficient agricultural societies traditionally took all their goods from nature. Because those goods were 100% biodegradable, nothing happened when they were dumped – they simply returned to nature. This is the tried and tested waste management system of the developing world (Nigeria and Ghana). The problems began when 20th century inventions were injected into this system, inhibiting the cycle from continuing to function the way it used to. Plastic packaging, oil containers, tires, batteries, electronics – they all interfere with nature’s absorption capacity. In the same way these products originate from an artificial production cycle, they require an artificial treatment at the end of their lifespans. However, even as fast as these “new” products conquer new markets, the awareness of the need for a change in waste management is inversely slow.

      Thus the aim of this pilot project is to inculcate on residents the awareness, mindset and behaviour of waste segregation and converting waste into wealth at their respective households. During the course of the project, collection of  segregated recyclables and residue waste will be at the source, mostly individual households where the waste have been segregated as non- biodegradable and biodegradable materials. As a result of the high rate of unemployment in Nigeria, some youths in the community will be incorporated to help collect, sort and sell the recyclables to the recycling company agents. Assuming one hundred percent  (100%) coverage of all households comprising the two communities covered by the “household participatory programme” (HPP), the potential income on recyclables (compost and non biodegradables) could be considerable and can be estimated based on size of the household population. Findings suggested that weighed average household waste dumped at a particular designated dump site for each community is 226,619.43kg and recyclable waste constitute over 75% of household waste generated. Given an average household size from both communities to be 508 household per community, the average daily of recyclable waste in a community is thus estimated at 1,097kg. This is worth 109,700 naira ($307) based on average buying price of 100naira (1kg is 100 naira for metal material, 50naira for plastics, 100naira ($0.28) for one bottle, compost- negotiable).

      This cross-cultural pilot study is needed for assessing the viability of creating alternative solid waste disposal habit that can also create employment in an emerging society. This pilot study is foreseen to deliver reciprocal information and incentive exchanges between the project and the residents for maximum public awareness and data collection with tangible solutions implemented within the time frame of the project.

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