nigeria, turn these trash to gold and salvage your grimy landscape

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Non-Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic
as you approach the marketplace in most metropolitan cities in nigeria, your eyes meet with the variegated heaps of rubbish behind dank brick walls, and the stench of black slimy gutters, mixed with the prevailing rotten fish and urine smell, hits you in the face like a baseball bat.

Submitted: May 19, 2017

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Submitted: May 19, 2017

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As you approach the marketplace in most metropolitan cities in Nigeria, your eyes meet with the variegated heaps of rubbish behind dank brick walls, and the stench of black slimy gutters, mixed with the prevailing rotten fish and urine smell, hits you in the face like a baseball bat.

It’s also hard not to notice the sweaty butchers, festooned in grimy aprons, swatting big black flies off their germ-infested meat, rubbing knives against knives, standing some few meters away from slaughter houses located behind mountainous heaps of trash. This type of scenario is not just exclusive to marketplaces alone. Ineffective waste management system in the country has resulted in the prevalence of unplanned landfills and unauthorized dumping sites.

With a population of more than 150 million people, Nigeria generates more than 2 million tons of solid waste annually. Since most of these wastes are poorly collected and managed by the waste management agencies, people prefer to patronize lone garbage collectors who prance through the streets, beating their rusty carts underneath the scorching sun. These collectors dump the collected garbage in canals, gutters and even in open spaces with huge “No Dumping” sign. This has resulted in the blockage of sewers and drainage systems as well as unspeakable squalor, especially during rainy seasons.

The United Nations Habitat Watch has projected that the current population in African cities will triple over the next forty years, and this will also mean a corresponding increase in the amount of waste generated. The lack of clear policies in the area of waste management has resulted in major urban cities looking like glorified slums and has caused malaria infections and other diseases to fester.

But humans are not the only ones that bear the brunt of indiscriminate landfills. The environment does, too. The depletion of natural habitat is a major factor in a landfill. When a land is used as a dumping site, it is no longer favorable to most species of plants and wildlife. Surely these refuse would have be burnt, of which the continuous burning of the soil results in a destruction of its structure such that even after the landfill has been capped, it becomes extremely difficult to restore back the  fertility of the land.

Also, wastes produced by factories, and in most cases households, are non-biodegradable; they mummify their contents and delay oxidation and natural breakdown processes.

One effective way to preserve the environment is to recycle waste products. Not only does it reduce the level of pollution, it also minimizes mining activities which also have adverse effects on the environment.

Recycling reduces the effects of global warming. The burning of wastes produces large amounts of greenhouse gas emissions, such as carbon dioxideand chlorofluorocarbons. Recycling wastes means that burning is reduced to a minimal level. Natural resources can also be conserved, because while the continuous cutting down of trees may lead deforestation, papers gotten from most trees can be recycled and reused to minimize deforestation.

We owe it to ourselves to preserve the environment, not just for health sake, but also for the preservation and maintenance of the ecosystem. As it’s often said, nature doesn’t need humans, but humans need nature.


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