FG to Nigerians: Attitude Change is essential  to save Solid Waste

The Minister of State I, Federal Ministry of Power, Works and Housing, Hon. Mustapha Baba Shehuri has proffered a ‘change of attitude’ as the prerequisite for managing municipal solid waste in the country.

This was contained in a Keynote Address delivered at the flag off ceremony to commemorate this year’s Urban October, a vehicle established by the United Nations to mark the World Habitat Day (WHD) and World Cities Day (WCD), held in at the NAF Conference Centre, Abuja.

Hon. Baba Shehuri disclosed that tackling municipal solid waste was a common challenge to urban dwellers, governments and communities and has continued to create a great toll on public funds, as well as health due to the huge complexities surrounding the processes of generation, collection and disposal.

He decried the effects of solid waste on the health of citizens, climate and the environment as a whole, indicating the need to clearly separate different aspects of waste management and for citizens to adopt attitudinal change towards tackling them.

The Minister further disclosed that municipal solid waste management is embedded within the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and has strong linkages impacting on various areas of the SDGs, such as living conditions, sanitation and public health.

Speaking earlier, the Honourable Minister of State II, Surv. Suleiman Hassan Zarma opined that peoples’ lifestyles and consumption patterns could greatly reduce waste. He left stakeholders with a “food for thought” when he quoted the British Economist, Sir Josiah Stamp, “It is easy to dodge our responsibilities, but we cannot dodge the consequences of dodging those responsibilities”.

He then urged urban dwellers to adopt more environmental friendly habits of taking active roles in environmental education for all, reverse the use of polythene, plastics to natural life and avoid exposing the environment to disasters.

The UN Under-Secretary General and Executive Director of UN-Habitat, Ms. Maimunah Mohd Sharif, represented by Mr. Jean Bakole, UN Resident Coordinator recommended the 3Rs – Reducing, Re-using and Recycling waste as alternative measures to tackle solid waste.

Mr. Bakole reported that the UN-Habitat was carrying out its role to support cities to turn them into Waste-Wise Cities; ensuring wastes are properly disposed and managed. According to him, Plans are under way to recognize cities that are leading in waste management.

He said that effective waste management starts with individuals through taking corrective actions; and with this, “we could achieve a world that is cleaner, greener safer, healthier and happier for us to live, work and play in”.

The Chairman, Senate Committee on Housing and Urban Development, Senator Barnabas Gemade expressed delight to be part of the commemoration, stating that as municipal solid wastes management poses a critical issue for Nigeria, he would urge the Parliament and other policy makers to have adequate representation at all levels of government to ensure that all municipal solid waste management-related policies were properly covered and adapted.

The Minister of State I, Hon. Baba Shehuri presented gifts and awards to the outstanding school’s performance and participation in the World Habitat Day to the following schools: Fine Trust Comprehensive College, Jikwoyi Phase 3, Anglican Comprehensive Secondary School, Kubwa and Fouad Lababidi Islamic Academy, Wuse, Abuja.

World Habitat Day (WHD) is usually marked every first Monday of October, while World Cities Day (WCD) is deliberated every October 31st worldwide. Their objectives are to reflect on the state of our towns and cities, and on the basic human right of all, to adequate shelter.

It also reminds us we all have the power and the responsibility to shape the future of our cities and towns. This year’s WHD has as its Theme: Municipal Solid Waste Management and Building Sustainable and Resilient Cities for WCD

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