By Kingsley Adegboye
The President, Nigerian Society of Engineers NSE, Kunle Mokuolu, has charged environmental engineers to tackle the challenges of open defecation and indiscriminate parking of trucks causing Apapa gridlock and road degeneration.
Mokuolu, who gave the charge at the inaugural lecture of late Chief Samuel Fadahunsi, organised by the Nigerian Institution of Environmental Engineers NIEE in Lagos weekend, was represented by Tayo Akintola, an engineer, and the immediate past chairman of the Ikeja branch of NSE.
The Memorial Lecture was tagged “Liquid Waste Management in Nigeria, the Past, Present and Future”.
The NSE president who called on government to partner restaurants to construct toilets in public places, said “We should be concerned about the roads and their usages. What these trailers are doing to our roads in Apapa is like taking their offices to the road and degrading it. NIEE should be involved in bringing order to the environment. If we keep quiet, the masses will suffer,” he said.
Mokuolu, who also called for improvement in recycling of waste to tackle plastic pollution, noted that NIEE needsto tackle open defecation in Lagos and other states.
“There is the need to control open defecation. NIEE should make it part of its Corporate Social Responsibility to manage liquid waste in Nigeria as experts. Government should partner with those running restaurants by giving them incentives to build toilets for more people to use and thus stop open defecation when they are pressed”, he said.
Also, Tunde Zedomi, a past president of NSE, said “It is a shame that we are here and Apapa is going down”.
He therefore advised that all hands should be on deck to tackle the environmental degradation in Apapa.
The guest speaker, Bola Olowe, also a past chairman of NIEE, gave a brief history of the evolution of liquid waste generated both domestically and industrially within the country.
He said that previous technologies had failed due to negative attitudes, explaining that the improper disposal of domestic and industrial liquid waste had compounded pollution.
According to him, this had caused wastes finding their ways back into the food value chain and causing diseases among the populace
Olowe urged governments to collaborate on the need to adopt new technologies that would support centralised waste management systems.
He called on the federal and state governments to harmonise all policies and projects toward the actualisation of short, medium, and long term plans to address the challenges.
He added that liquid waste was a huge cost venture and the private sector participants should be involved in tackling it.
Olowe said that the government alone could not handle liquid waste management effectively.
“The Federal government should provide enabling environment for stakeholders to come up with sustainable programmes while state governments should harmonise regulatory functions.
“ Government should look at standardisation within the system as well as the right kinds of equipment that we need to use in Nigeria. Also, it has to provide the right kind of support for our universities, researchers and NGOs so that they can come up with appropriate technologies to handle our liquid waste in Nigeria”, he said.