By Chris Chimezie
Ondo State Governor, Arakunrin Oluwarotimi Akeredolu (SAN), has said that the generation of waste and its disposal should form part of new learning for safe and healthy living.
Akeredolu made this known during the flag-off of the National Waste-to-Wealth programme using appropriate technologies, South-West zone, held at the International Culture, and Event Centre (The Dome) in Akure.
He explained that living entailed becoming and passing aways while nothing was indeed a waste.
“A discarded material announces the end of a purpose for which it is designed, waiting for a yet-to-be determined end. Our material world is whole and indivisible.
“Therefore, Waste-to-Wealth brings forth a new freshness to a seeming despondent state of affairs in the polity.
“Domestic waste is generated and disposed in ways that are inimical to the well being of the society. This waste, both solid and liquid, often poses hazard to the health and safety of the society.
“Drainages are blocked with debris, buildings erected on easement and petroleum by-products such as polythene bags, nylon, plastic, disused boxes, household utensils, scraps of disused vehicles and machines, among others, litter everywhere,” he said.
Akeredolu further explained that what would ordinarily constitute a challenge to man, by the very circumstances of our existence now held the promise to be a veritable source of income, if humans learned new ways of doing things.
“This message is good music to the ears of the people of our dear state considering the financial difficulty which is our lot at present.
“The knowledge of the possibility of converting waste disposal to generation of wealth is exciting. More interesting is the availability of the technical know-how.
“We are more than excited that our state has been chosen as the pilot site for the programme which will be in the six geo-political zones in the country. Indigenes and residents of the state are more than ready to learn how to participate in this innovating scheme,” he said.
Earlier, The Federal Minister of Science and Technology, Dr Ogbonnaya Onu, reiterated the commitment of the Federal Government to accelerate the pace of development anchored on the effectiveness deployment of science, technology and innovation.
He said the Ministry would continue to use science, technology and innovation to lay the transformation of the nation to attain the greatness Nigeria was destined for.
The Minister also said the programme would enable the conversion of waste to valuable economic goods and services, to help create wealth and jobs, reduce poverty, help defeat hunger and stimulate national consciousness in the power of science and technology as an important instrument for nation building.
“I am happy with this collaboration between the Federal Ministry and the Ondo State Government.
“I am also confident that this programme, if properly implemented will help our great nation effectively and efficiently convert the huge amount of waste generated in abundance in both rural and urban areas, into very useful products to promote happiness of our people.
“Through this programme, by using appropriate technologies, we will help ensure that what becomes waste for.one household can become useful for another.
“Indeed, waste generated in one household can become a source of income for the people. Science, technology and innovation will help make this possible,” he said.
Onu further asked Nigerians to lend their support to the program, embrace it, and expressed confidence that it would serve the people of the zone as well as Nigeria.
Also, Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Science and Technology, Mr Belewa Wakama explained that the choice of Ondo State for the flag off of the Waste-to-Wealth programme in the South West geographical zone was informed by the central position of the state in the zone.
He further stated that very soon the pilot waste to wealth plan will be installed at a location to be determined by the state government.
“The programme will demonstrate synergy between the States and the Federal Ministry of Science Technology in the collective objectives of improving the livelihood of the Nigeria populace by providing a safer and cleaner environment.
“It is geared towards achieving a sustainable end to end solution for a national integrated waste management system in the country using appreciable technology through a well coordinated national plan”, he said.
In his opening remark, Senior Special Assistant to the Governor on Agriculture, Pastor Akin Olotu noted that attention has been shifting to making use of waste materials either as raw materials for industrial purposes or as input in agricultural production.
Olotu noted that the Federal Ministry of Science and Technology Waste-to-Wealth project is a demonstration of goodwill, adding that the State has been selected among the six States in the South West, thus making it one of the six states considered for the project across the country.
He observed that where over 50%of waste generated is known to be bio-degradable, without doubt, will be a double blessing for environmental health and Agriculture (food production), if they are effectively recovered and recycled for use.
“The fact that Ondo State has been chosen to pilot the Federal Government project on Waste-to-Wealth in South West Geopolitical zone, is a big blessing to us, since it is in tandem with the programme and vision of the present administration.
“It is an initiative that will productively engage our youths and support agriculture in the state”, he said.
Olotu, however commended the Federal Government for the establishment of the Recycling Plant for the conversion of waste materials to useful products, such as bio-degradable materials to organic fertilizer.