Recycling: Is Nigeria Missing Out On A Multi Billion Naira Industry?
_"Pollution is nothing but the resources we are not harvesting. We allow them to disperse because we've been ignorant of their value."_ - Buckmister Fuller.
According to Eunomia, a environmental Consultancy outfit, Germany has the best recycling rate in the world. Austria comes in second, followed by South Korea and Wales. All four countries manage to recycle between 52% and 56% of their municipal waste. Switzerland, in fifth place, recycles almost half of its municipal waste.
Wales another country hopes to achieve zero waste by 2050. Despite some of the setbacks faced by the recycling industry caused by the Chinese governments new policy which bans 24 recyclable products from being exported to China, the recycling industry is still a 410 billion USD industry.
Nigeria, the largest economy in Africa generates massive amounts of waste annually. According to the Waste Management Society Of Nigeria(WAMASON) a total of sixty five million metric tonnes of waste is generated annually. However owing to a non existent policy footprint Nigerian entrepreneurs, government and people are loosing billions of NGN. The current method of burning waste isn't only crude and a loss of a major source of revenue but more importantly harmful to the environment.
Assessing the economic impact of Waste management/recycling in Germany and USA. The nation of Germany has evolved into a large and powerful economic sector. There are more than 270,000 people working in some 11,000 companies with an annual turnover of around 70 billion euros.
In the USA, the United States Environmental Protection Agency affirms that the recycling industry accounts for 757,000 American jobs, $36.6 billion in wages; and $6.7 billion in tax revenues.
Going forward Nigeria should evolve a template built on the German model by first creating a waste management act enforceable by local governments the waste management act must outline government's policy objectives and performance targets. Providing financial incentives for recyclers or collectors of waste, financial grants to research centers with the focus on translating waste into products capable of generating revenue.
As Nigeria continues to witness meteoric rise in her population and waste generation. The time is now for the nation to seize the immense environmental and economic benefits that the recycling industry has to offer. In the words of Clement of Alexandria "We are not to throw away those things which can benefit our neighbor. Goods are called good because they can be used for good: they are instruments for good, in the hands of those who use them properly."
Image Credit: Vivinna Authority