For a Safer Earth, Healthier Climate

GAIA Unveils Guidelines on Zero Waste, Tasks FG on Inclusion in National Policies

By Ruth Tene Natsa, Abuja

The Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternative, Nigeria (GAIA) today unveiled the Zero Waste Guideline, aimed at supporting governments’ decision-making, in the attainment of effective waste management practices, by introducing the concept of zero waste.

This is even as the National arm of the alliance said it was looking at various options to engage the federal government in the inclusion of zero waste in its national waste and climate policies.

Speaking in his welcome remarks during a One Day Webinar, tagged ‘Transiting to Zero Waste: Challenges and Opportunities, Executive Director, ERA/FoE Nigeria, Barr. Dr. Chima Williams said the concept of Zero Waste guidelines was birthed by the partners, based on ideas from different waste management sessions such as community dialogues, zero waste academy, and waste parliament organized by the Environmental Rights Action/Friends of the Earth Nigeria (ERA/FoEN).

He noted that the Zero Waste campaign had gained much traction as it had become a topical issue across communities and among various tiers of government as well as civil society groups.

Barr. Chima noted that while ‘Zero Waste’ was enshrined in the constitution as a means to preserving the lives of the citizenry, he stressed that waste must be totally managed or reduced to its barest minimum through the promotion of clean energy to preserve their fundamental rights

He maintained that the ultimate aim between the partners was to have a compendium of the topic on the entire Nigerian nation.

In his remarks, Programmes Manager, ERA/FoE  Maimoni Ubrei-Joe said the objective of the webinar was to raise public awareness on the use of zero waste as a viable solution to waste management and climate change crises.

He recalled that for the first time, the United Nations General Assembly on 14 December 2022 formally recognized the importance of zero-waste initiatives and proclaimed 30 March as the International Day of Zero Waste, to be observed annually beginning in 2023.

Recalling that GAIA Nigeria had a small delegation at the recent UN Plastics Treaty negotiation in Paris that concluded two weeks ago, he said, the outcomes following  five days of negotiations  included an agreement to develop a zero draft treaty text for a future binding treaty on plastics, discuss on the 12 core obligations options for the new binding global plastic treaty, support by many governments for global measures to reduce plastic production, regulate the waste trade, ensure chemical transparency and ban single-use plastics

He added that the third round of negotiations will be held in Nairobi, Kenya in November 2023, the fourth round in Canada in April 2024, and then in South Korea in October 2024

In a joint presentation by the Executive Director, of Sustainable Research and Action for Environmental Development (SRADev) Nigeria, Dr Leslie Adogame (from Lagos), and Executive Director, and Executive Director, Centre for Earth Work (CFEW) Benson Dotun Fasanya (from Jos), the Duo spoke on the topic Transiting to Zero Waste: Challenges and Opportunities

Dr Leslie while quoting the definition by ‘The Zero Waste International defined Zero waste as a goal that is both pragmatic and visionary to guide people to emulate sustainable natural cycles, where all discarded materials are resources for other use’. He further quoted that “Zero waste means designing and managing products and processes to reduce the volume and toxicity of waste and materials, conserve and recover all resources and not burn or bury them

He further quoted that zero waste will eliminate all discharges to land, water, or air that may be a threat to planetary, human, animal or plants as well as a circular economy with no waste

Dr Leslie noted that while zero waste may sound like an unachievable pie-in-the-sky goal, it is just a goal, stressing that the 3 Rs of Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle played important roles in achieving the desired goals.

He stated the challenges to achieving the goals include political, cultural and behavioral, economic, and technological challenges among others.

Proffering solutions to the seeming challenges, (his co-presenter) Benson Dotun Fasanya, noted that the unsustainable patterns of consumption and production are the root causes of the triple planetary crises of climate change, biodiversity loss, and pollution, noting that these crises and related environmental degradation threaten human well-being and achievement of the sustainable development goals

He emphasized that zero waste is a real solution built on 5 pillars of opportunities, innovation, recycling, composting, as well as landfill/incineration which he said better people’s lives and safeguards the environment

The Alliance is a coalition of 9 organizations which include Sustainable Research and Action for Environmental Development (SRADev), Environmental Rights Action/Friends of the Earth Nigeria (ERA/FoEN), Pan African Vision for the Environment (PAVE), Centre for Earth Work (CFEW), Green Knowledge Foundation (GKF), Community Development Advocacy Foundation (CODAF), Policy Alert, Lekeh Development Foundation and Community Action Against Plastic Waste (CAPWs),

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