Post COVID-19: Climate Change; Why We Need An Effective Waste Management Strategy - Idowu Salawu

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Thursday, May 14, 2020 / 8:04 PM / Bukola Akinyele for WebTV / Header Image Credit: WebTV 

 

Nigeria must  take seriously the adoption of a robust medical waste management process, at national and sub-national levels Post COVID-19. Mr. Idowu Salawu, an Environmentalist and CEO of Macpresse West Africa Limited made the remarks as a guest on a recent WebTV "Economy and Politics" programme.


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According to Salawu, policymakers and stakeholders need to explore the effective management of waste Isolation Centers, Face Masks, Personal Protective Equipment's (PPE) and other related activities and medical accessories in the country.


Salawu emphasized the need for the use of the ecological fund and other specialized funding plans to implement a solid waste management architecture, and create innovative measures towards pollution control, periodic fumigation of key areas of the country and providing support for a cleaner and sustainable environment. 


Explaining the contract handling by his company in Oyo State to better manage dump sites, he said the project has been on since October last year which shows the state government was proactive and and committed to environmental sustainability.


He said, Macpresse company came up with the solid waste management architecture that would be sustainable, easy to drive and shape peoples orientation to a better ecosystem. He was of the view that Oyo State education was free but waste management was not free as the Governor considered important that citizens see the business angle to waste management.


Speaking further, Salawu explained that their scope of work created opportunities for over 200 private investors  to move into Oyo state to assist the government in the new waste management architecture. Salawu  believed the robust plan would make citizens of Oyo see the fresh business opportunities afforded by proper waste management.


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Looking at how COVID-19 has affected more than 180 countries their environments, the environmental specialist said  climate problems have grown by 41%  since the 1990's. On his thoughts on environmental management, Salawu said there were still pressing issues of  desertification, and flooding. He believed that climate and environment change could have either a positive or negative impact on economies.


Speaking on the positive impact of COVID-19 pandemic on  climate change, he said  manufacturing pollution and invasive pollution activities have been significantly reduced, the number or cars on the road has fallen , and the carbon monoxide emission from different production and commercial activities has started to decline. All these, according to Salawu, has made the environment cleaner and played up the positive unintended effects of COVID-19.


He spoke further on ways to take care of the waste from isolation centres and argued that it should be collaborative between states and the federal government.  Salawu cited Ibadan as a state that partners with the University College Hospital (UCH) on medical waste to see how it can improve the management of toxic substances while guaranteeing a healthy human ecosystem.


He advised the government and policymakers to focus on the environment particularly at this time of pandemic. According to him, COVID-19 has shown the need for preparedness. 


The environmentalist noted that Climate change may kill more people than COVID-19. Meaning that climate change would affect human lives in new and frightening ways.


Speaking on the 2019 floods that occurred in Nigeria, he said the issue of waste management should be a key consideration as well as issues such as  desertification, public health fumigation, and human settlement development.


Speaking on human settlement development, He called on town planning to look into ways to solve human settlement development in order for the impact of pandemic to be minimise.


Explaining critical areas to focus on, Salawu said the federal government has passed an Environment Act but has lacked the will to give it teeth by policy execution, hence implementation remains a distant dream.


He called on the ministry of environment to work effectively and execute projects in a way to curb environmental challenges. Salawu said, the issue of policy, funding and people to implement programs is crucial to any society.


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