From Fred Itua, Abuja

FCT Minister of State Ramatu Tijjani Aliyu has revealed that the Administration spends about N8 billion annually to manage waste in the Federal Capital City (FCC) and satellite towns across the territory.

She said the Abuja Environmental Protection Board (AEPB) spends an average of N6 billion annually, while the Satellite Towns Development Department (STDD) spends N2 billion annually, bringing the total sum of N8 billion to pay over 64 cleaning contractors engaged in the management of waste within the nation’s capital.

The minister who spoke at the maiden edition of the Annual General Meeting/Induction of Waste Management Association of Nigeria (WAMASON), FCT Council, also called on communities to adopt sustainable waste management practices, which include sorting at source, composting of organic waste for horticultural/agricultural purposes amongst others.

Speaking on the theme: “Waste Management in a Circular Economy: Financing, Stakeholders Engagement and Enforcement”, the minister advocated for the transition to a circular economy model for sustainable growth and development in Nigeria.

Represented by the Director, Environmental Services, Satellite Towns Development Department (STDD), Mr Olusegun Olusa, the minister noted that in the circular economy, virtually nothing is discarded, stressing that products and materials are kept in circulation for as long as possible by designing them to be more durable, reusable, repairable and recyclable.

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‘It is clear that waste management is a cross-cutting environmental issue, impacting many aspects of our society and the economy. It has strong linkages to a range of other global challenges such as health, food and resource security, sustainable consumption and production, climate change and poverty reduction,’ she affirmed.

According to the minister, the FCT Administration has been working assiduously in ensuring that new opportunities for sustainable growth are provided through increased budgetary provisions in waste management related services.

She added: ‘Presently, we have a total number of 64 waste management contractors in the FCC and Satellite Towns. This has provided employment opportunities and improved environmental sanitation through resource recovery/sorting and collection of recyclables for the informal waste pickers, as well as providing a platform for the generation of empirical data for proper planning and projection of waste amount in the FCT.”

The minister, therefore, called for synergy and understanding between the government and the private sector in ensuring effective and profitable waste management, just as she pledged the administration’s commitment to providing the necessary legal framework that guarantees a return on investment for service delivery.

In her presentation of the 2016 to 2021 FCT Council report, the Councillor, Waste Management Association of Nigeria, Mrs Kitan Oluwagbuyi, noted that despite the numerous challenges facing waste managers in the city, the association has collaborated with tertiary institutions across the country to organise workshop and mentorship on opportunities in waste management and sustainable development.

She also stated that in 2020 the association has set up recycling centres in 20 schools across the Federal Capital Territory, and 5 collection hub centres in collaboration with a member recycler -Chanja Datti – under a UNDP assisted fund.