The issue of waste management is a challenge in most urban centres, growth points as well as rural service centres. Piles of waste are seen on most road side and open spaces. Littered roads seem to be the order of the day in most urban centres. The primary source of litter in the cities, among others, has been pedestrians throwing unwanted materials in the streets, dumping of waste by shop owners and the discarding of waste by motorist through the windows.
Can this litter challenge
be tackled sustainably?
Sustainable waste management can be defined as “Using material resources efficiently to cut down on the amount of waste produced, where waste is generated, dealing with it in a way that actively contributes to the economic, social and environmental goals of sustainable development”.
This can be achieved through different waste management options, such as; prevention, minimisation, reuse, recycling, energy recovery, incineration and finally disposal in a properly lined landfill.
The sustainable management of waste, however, calls for an integrated approach, where everyone participates and takes corrective action to reverse this unpleasant situation. Stakeholder participation therefore becomes key in resolving this anomaly that has greatly reduced the aesthetic value of our once beautiful towns and cities.
Role of stakeholders in
Clean up your frontage up to the road and back corridors and sanitary lanes; Provide bins in front of your shop or work area to collect all the waste you generate; Organise yourselves into groups and adopt zones for clean-up in your areas; Organise regular clean ups to keep your work areas clean and attractive to customers; Appoint anti-litter monitors for your work areas; Donate branded bins to Local Authorities not only as a way of advertising but also assisting in the provision of bins; Set up cages to collect recyclable cans, bottles, plastic bottles among others; Have waste management plans and targets in place; Distribute legally acceptable plastic carrier bags and also provide shopping bags as alternatives; Declare how you are dealing with the waste of your imported goods; Consider alternatives for fast food packs rather than Kaylites; Desist form the use of posters and flyers to advertise your businesses, rather opt for the use of electronic media such as TV, radio, Facebook etc.
Form community based organisations (CBOs) and regularly clean up residential frontage, backyards and streets in your area; Appoint anti-litter monitors in your areas; Establish environment committees and clean up the wards; Separate your waste into biodegradable, plastic bottles (PEPs) and metal cans and sell to recycling companies; Compost all material that is biodegradable. Use the manure for your vegetable gardens and flowerbeds; Avoid burning waste, the fumes cause cancer; Avoid dumping of waste at street corners and open spaces.
Form environmental groups to spearhead clean-up of institutional frontage and roads leading to these institutions and back corridors and sanitary lanes; Adopt areas/zones for clean-up and enhance the school and the community relationships; Set up cages to collect plastics, glass, cans for pupils; Collect recyclables at home and bring to school on a set day.
Church leaders should mainstream environmental issues into their main programs and teachings; The church can form departments or groups of individuals who assist in the coordination of waste management activities at the church. The responsible individuals should have adequate protective clothing; As part of empowering communities churches should source and keep clean up material for use during anti-litter programmes; Churches should develop waste management plans which act as a guide on what they should do with regards to the management of waste; When hosting national and international events churches should ensure they procure enough waste receptacles to be able to sustainably manage their waste; In areas of their operation churches should spearhead formation of waste management committees as a way of building a multi-stakeholder approach in addressing waste management challenges as well as adopting nearby zones to maintain; When advertising for conferences and other gatherings, churches should shun the use of posters and flyers as they are a source of litter. They should however use electronic means of advertising their events, such as the social media, radio, bill boards and television; Churches can adopt streets which they maintain and provide bins for. This should start from their places of worship and beyond. Remember “Charity begins at home”; Procurement at the Church should be of environmentally friendly products for example with preference of bottled drinks to cans, plates to kaylite, among others.
Provide adequate waste bins at strategic and convenient sites for pedestrians; Ensure that there are properly engineered landfills for waste management, other than the waste dumps that are being used by the majority of them now; Invest in biogas technology whereby the methane can be harnessed from the landfills; Local Authorities and corporates should invest in incinerators through which they could also produce solid refuse fuel which can be an alternative source of energy; The issue of waste transfer centres should also be considered.
Motorists and pedestrians
Motorists should have trash bags in their vehicles for placing litter instead of throwing litter out the window; Pedestrians should avoid dumping of litter along pavements and roadsides but instead make use of bins provided for by the Local Authorities.
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