Dr. Ifedi Okwenna Proffers Sustainable Solid Waste Management Plan For Anambra State

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Dr. Ifedi Okwenna
Dr. Ifedi Okwenna
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Solid waste management is one of the greatest environmental challenges of Anambra State. As a Commissioner for Environment under the Peter Obi-led government, I pursed with vigor the massive removal of wastes and the clean up of Anambra state. Before then, Onitsha had this unenviable record of the dirtiest city in Nigeria.

In August 2006, just few weeks after my swearing in, we launched the Greater Ontisha, Awka and Nnewi clean-up and beautification programme. With this, we were able to clean up the three major cities in Anambra State of several mountains of refuse heaps adorning major street corners for several years before then and beautified the street corners, roundabouts and developed gardenparks.

We created three major final waste disposal sites in the three cities, introduced the use of standard waste disposal vehicles instead of the use of ordinary tippers.

Dr. Ifedi Okwenna - Anambra state governorship aspirant
Dr. Ifedi Okwenna – Anambra state governorship aspirant

We started the House-to-house waste collection and at-source separation, as well as street sweeping in Anambra State. We started the design of a waste-to-energy facility, with the partnership of Access Energy of Canada and funding from International Financial Consortium (IFC).

This $498million facility, sited in Obosi, was to generate 188MW of electricity using 3500 tones of waste daily and input gas.

The site was acquired, the project design and EIA were completed and the IFC funding partners had secured the financing, but this project which would have provided 3000 direct jobs, generate 188 megawatts of electricity and sustainably clear the streets of Anambra and adjoining States of solid wastes and garbages was abandoned when we left office.

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To enforce environmental compliance, we set up Environmental Marshal Corp and Environmental Courts, for quick trials of Environment offenders. We also set up ENVOCORP which was mentoring about 55,000 Students drawn from across all secondary schools in the state.

Their activities while we were there, created a lot of environment awareness in towns and villages across the State. We strengthened then ANSEPA and increased revenue generation from waste management to a point where what we were generating was enough to take care of our operational activities, with some left over profit.

We partnered with various market and motor park associations to ensure that our markets and motor parks were clean.

These initiatives were subsequently abandoned when we left.

As Governor, we shall begin again and our Solid Waste Management Plan will be anchored on the concept of Integrated Solid Waste Management (ISWM) which requires that equal attention be given to each stage of the solid waste management chain. Our solid waste management system shall specify policy directives, goals, benchmark targets and performance measures for minimization, waste collection, waste processing and waste disposal.

As government, we shall undertake minimal operational responsibilities while providing the necessary enabling environment for the private sector to effectively engaged in the Solid Waste Management chain. This will increase competition and efficiency in the system and cut public budget and expenditure. We shall partner the private sector in the collection and transportation of wastes to final disposal sites adopting the house-house model in residential areas and from collection bays in markets, malls and parks.

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We shall create final disposal sites with the component:

  • Final sorting/garbage separation unit;
  • Composting plant for organic materials;
  • Recycling unit,
  • Recycling equipment and machinery manufacturing unit,
  • Incinerating unit for medical and industrial waste and
  • Landfill for non-biodegradables.

Waste Disposal at the Disposal Centre shall begin with the separation of non-organic from organic waste on a conveyor belt. The non-organic waste is sorted into different waste types and taken for processing in the recycling unit while the Organic component and animal waste are transformed at the composting plant into high grade soil conditioners which are later pelletized and used in agriculture.

In the Manufacturing unit, there will be production of different types of waste handling equipment and machinery such as conveyor belts, crushers, granulators, pelletizers and compactors.

The center will also provide training on the operations and maintenance of waste handling equipment and machinery.

We shall put emphasis on human resources development in Solid Waste Management and ensure that our Universities, Polytechnics and Colleges of Education offer degrees, Diplomas and Certificates courses on Solid waste management and on entrepreneurial innovations and knowledge-based skills for Solid Waste Management.

We shall give encouragement to Non-Governmental Organizations and cooperative societies and make them to become major actors in the solid waste management or management of waste processing operations, in direct involvement in the manufacturing of waste handling equipment and machinery and in the learning and teaching of recycling processes which shall improve skill training and enhance economic opportunities for its members especially youths and women.

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Through these, we shall create thousands of direct and indirect employments, develop entrepreneurs, innovators and businesses within the solid waste management chain. We shall by these eventually realise our aim of turning our wastes into wealth in Anambra State.

Waste Management Plan - Dr. Ifedi Okwenna
Waste Management Plan – Dr. Ifedi Okwenna
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