Nigeria currently generates 24 million tonnes of waste annually at refuse dumpsites across the country, (more than the total rice paddy produced in 18 states) an environmental expert has said. The total rice paddy production in 18 states under the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN’s) Anchor Borrower Programme (ABP) of Nigeria in 2016 was estimated at 17,487,562 metric tons, the Growth and Employment in States (GEMS4) report on Nigeria’s rice production in 2016 stated.
The GEMS4 report is a programme funded by the United Kingdom Department for International Development (DfID). However, Dr. Chukwukelo Chukwogo, the Managing Director of Boskel Nigeria, made the claim in the official bulletin of University of Port Harcourt (UNIPORT), a copy of which was given to NAN in Port Harcourt on Tuesday. Chukwogo made the claim when he delivered a lecture in the university.
He said the nation’s poor waste management culture had been having some adverse effects on the environment, while exposing the citizens to serious health challenges. “Indiscriminate dumping of waste in Nigeria has increased the generation of greenhouse gases, such as carbon dioxide, and this is partly caused by rapid urbanisation and poor waste management in the country. “Microbial load at dumpsites poses a great threat to scavengers and the society at large, as the scavengers serve as routes for the transmission of certain pathogens to the society. “If urgent steps are not taken in the short term, open dumpsites would continue to grow, resulting in the production of more greenhouse gasses. “This is quite disturbing because greenhouse gasses pose greater danger to a population’s life expectancy than malaria,” he said.
Comparing this to local rice production in Nigeria, you would see that the amount of waste generated in Nigeria annually is more than the local rice produced in 18 Nigerian states as at 2016. Although, In the study titled “Mapping of rice produc-tion clusters in Nigeria,” GEMS4 revealed that Nigeria is reaping from the CBN’s Anchor Borrowers Programme and is on the verge of attaining its rice self-sufficiency target before the end of 2017, it has still not defeated the fact that waste production in the country is very much high.
But a breakdown of the GEMS4 report on rice production revealed that the total paddy production in Nigeria in 2016 was estimated at 17,487,562 metric tons, leaving a balance of about 11.4 million metric tons after accounting for 12.4 per cent of rice production wasted due to post-harvest losses. However, Chukwogo said that the closure of open dumpsites which released greenhouse gasses into the atmosphere was equivalent to the removal of millions of trucks from the roads.
He said open waste dumpsites, which were still tolerated in the country, had been eradicated in several countries in the last 30 years. He urged the Federal Government and the authorities of UNIPORT to establish a waste management treatment centre and an institute to perform researches on environmental themes.