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Waste production worsens global climate crisis – Experts

Chima Williams (file photo)

‘70% of global greenhouse emissions come from product lifecycles of waste extracted, transported and disposed into the environment’

Waste management advocates have raised the alarm on the impacts of waste production to the global climate crisis.

They discussed the impacts at a webinar organized by the Environmental Rights Action/Friends of the Earth Nigeria (ERA/FoEN) in collaboration with the Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives (GAIA) and other member organizations, with the theme, “Embracing Zero Waste: A Path to Addressing Climate.”

Director of Global Climate Programme of GAIA, Mariel Vilella, said that 70% of global greenhouse emissions come from product lifecycles of waste extracted, transported and disposed into the environment.

Mariel stated that the waste sector is the third largest source of anthropogenic methane, which has 82 times more warming power than carbon dioxide, making it an extremely dangerous greenhouse gas and a superior pollutant. 

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According to her, “Plastic production and pollution also results in greenhouse gas emissions at each stage of the lifecycle—from its birth as fossil fuels through refining and manufacture to disposal emissions at the end of life, adding that waste-to-energy incinerators are also super polluters.”

Highlighting the key takeaways from a Zero Waste to Zero Emissions modeling study of eight cities conducted by GAIA in 2022, she stated that composting, source reduction and energy recovery are zero waste strategies that can be used to reduce GHG emissions from waste, as powerful mitigation approach that is adaptable to different needs and circumstances.

She further pointed out that asides the environmental benefits of less air pollution and reduced flooding, the zero waste strategy also has social, economic and institutional benefits that ensure better public health, poverty reduction, job creation and more public inclusion and participation.

Also at the webinar, the Executive Director of ERA/FoEN, Chima Williams, stated that it was high time the fallacies imbedded in the current waste management systems in Nigeria and the world are reviewed and replaced with policies that are binding.

According to him, the global south needs more enlightenment on the dangers of plastic waste and its effects on the planet, with the issues of flooding as an example of the damages , loss of lives and properties caused by plastic waste.

He added that the webinar and similar platforms are avenues to engage and collectively join hands in the campaigns against plastic waste as no one group can do it single handedly.

Also, the Executive Director of Sustainable Research and Action for Environmental Development (SRADev), Leslie Adogame, stated that there was a huge gap in policies related to waste management and climate change.

He added that GAIA is spread across Nigeria to bridge the gap between zero waste and climate change, and to develop ideas, policies and actions that will promote zero waste as a key climate action.

The Programs Manager of Era/FoEN, Maimoni Ubrei-Joe highlighted the key achievements of GAIA and ERA in promoting zero waste, including the creation of Zero Waste Ambassador, to promote zero waste policies at the local level.

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