Housing Minister Proffers Attitudinal Change Towards Tackling Solid Wastes in Nigeria


ABUJA – (Power, Works & Housing Report) – The Minister of State I for Power, Works and Housing, Mustapha Baba Shehuri has proffered a change of attitude as the prerequisite for managing municipal solid wastes in the country.

The statement was contained in a keynote address delivered at the flag – off ceremony to commemorate the 2018 Urban October, a vehicle established by the United Nations to mark the World Habitat Day (WHD) and World Cities Day (WCD) which held recently at the NAF Conference Centre in Abuja with the theme: “Municipal Solid Waste Management and Building Sustainable and Resilient Cities for WCD.”

Baba Shehuri disclosed that tackling municipal solid waste is 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 noted that municipal solid waste management is embedded in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and has strong links impacting on various aspects of the SDGs such as living conditions, sanitation and public health.

Speaking earlier, the Minister of State II for Power, Works & Housing, Suleiman Hassan Zarma (Surv) 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 as saying ‘it is easy to dodge our responsibilities, but we cannot dodge the consequences of dodging those responsibilities.’

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

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

Jean Bakole reported that the UN-Habitat is carrying out its role in supporting cities to turn them into Waste-Wise Cities and to ensure that wastes are properly disposed and managed. According to him, plans are underway to recognize cities that are leading in waste management. He emphasized that effective waste management starts with individuals through taking corrective actions, stressing that with this the society could achieve a world that is cleaner, greener, safer, healthier and happier for people to live, work and play in.

The Chairman of the Senate Committee on Housing and Urban Development, Barnabas Gemade (Senator) expressed delight to be part of the commemoration. He further stated that as municipal solid waste management poses a critical issue for Nigeria, the Parliament and other policy makers are urged to have adequate representation at all levels of government. Adding, this will ensure that all municipal solid waste management-related policies are properly covered and adapted.

In a related development, the Minister of State I, Baba Shehuri presented gifts and awards to outstanding schools for their performance and participation in the World Habitat Day. The following schools were the beneficiaries: Fine Trust Comprehensive College, Jikwoyi Phase 3; Anglican Comprehensive Secondary School, Kubwa and Fouad Lababidi Islamic Academy, Wuse in Abuja.

The World Habitat Day (WHD) is usually marked every first Monday of October, whilst the World Cities Day (WCD) is celebrated every October 31st worldwide. Their objectives are to reflect on the state of towns and cities and the basic human right of every citizen to adequate shelter. The essence of the celebration is to emphasize the power and responsibility of everyone to shape the future of cities and towns.