By Kingsley Adegboye

Chemistry and waste management are crucial in the development of small and medium enterprises. This view was canvassed by environmentalists who spoke at the just concluded 5th Mandatory Continuing Professional Development, MCPD workshop organised by the Institute of Chartered Chemists of Nigeria, ICCON. The experts submitted that chemistry and waste management will boost the development of SMEs if well managed.

Speaking on “Waste characterisation and management”, Prof. Babajide Alo of the Department of Chemistry, University of Lagos, Akoka, said a major implication of the impracticable attempt to achieve 100 per cent in industrial production processes and domestic consumption pattern has resulted in the generation of unwanted materials or substances.

The UNILAG Deputy Vice Chancellor who is a renowned environmentalist, pointed out however, that if there are no immediate needs for these materials, they become wastes which need to be disposed.

Explaining waste characterisation as the determination of the percentage of different constituents of a waste, for instance, finding out how much paper, glass, food waste and others is discarded in one’s waste stream, he said the waste characterisation information helps in planning how to reduce waste, set up recycling programmes and conserve money and resources.

“ For industrial wastes, characterisation is carried out to determine if the waste is classified hazardous for disposal purposes. This characterisation is done using established methods while the characterisation method to be used also depends on the analyte of interest such as potentially toxic metal, chloride, and matrix of the waste such as liquid or sediment or solid,” he said.

The don submitted that waste characterisation is an important tool in current waste control methods and results in efficient and productive waste management strategies.

Speaking on the Role of government in waste management: LAWMA’s Perspective”, Mrs. Abimbola Jijoho-Ogun, the acting managing director of LAWMA said the authority’s role includes the provision of a functional, sustainable, efficient and effective solid waste management facilities.

The Chief Executive Officer, Integrated Chemical Works Limited, Abuja, Mr. Obed Onwochei who spoke on “Waste Management and Entrepreneurship” said waste management, if well practiced will result in an opportunity for an entrepreneur. He pointed out that the management of waste, both for health reasons as well as for economic purposes should be of particular interest to the chemist, since most of the processes involved are more or less chemical reactions.

Excited that many Nigerian chemists are currently involved in waste management as consultants and contractors, Onwochei however, noted that there is the need for a suitable government policy to be put in place to stimulate environmental consciousness in Nigerians.

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