THE IMPACT OF RECYCLING IN PRESERVING THE ENVIRONMENT
1.1Background of the study
The generation and disposal of waste is an intrinsic part of any developing or industrial society. Waste, both from domestic and commercial sources has grown significantly in Nigeria over the past decade. Every time a householder shops at the store, and open market he contributes to the mountain of waste. It is possible to quote figures which show that the production of waste amounts to millions of tons. The percent of Nigeria’s population living in cities and urban areas has more than doubled in the last 15 years. The cities and urban areas experience continuous growth which contributes to enormous in generation of solid and liquid waste. The management of waste is a matter of national and international concern. The volume of waste does not actually constitute the problem but the ability or inability of governments, individuals and waste disposal firms to keep up with the task of managing waste and the environment. There is no doubt that a dirty environment affects the standard of living, aesthetic sensibilities, health of the people and thus the quality of their lives. The corollary is that improper disposal or storage of this waste can constitute hazards to the society through the pollution of air, land and especially water. In this research, our attention would be focused on domestic waste. We will highlight some of the problems which have attended the management of this category of waste in Nigeria today. It will be seen that Nigeria has not done well in the direction of tackling the menace of domestic waste. This is even in the face advanced management strategies existing today for domestic waste management which have been adopted in many places. We will proffer suggestions that may assist in addressing this issue that seems to be aborting most efforts of International organizations, the federal government, city authorities, states and professionals alike.
Recycling depends on waste materials which cannot be reused directly but can be converted to new product or raw material through the processes of transformation. For instance, used paper is recycled into files, envelops and cards. Energy is recovered through recycling through: pyrolysis (combustion of waste in the absence of oxygen to create gases, liquids and solid compounds), incineration (combustion in the presence of oxygen to produce oxidized compounds), anaerobic digestion, gasification and pelletization; as well as composting (biological and chemical degradation of organic waste in either large centralized, small enterprise, backyard or household basis). Together, the ‘3Rs’ aimed at achieving sustainable solid waste management; and, also relates to other global environmental challenges, particularly, climate change mitigation, specifically, the emission of greenhouse gases that could create sustainable development co-benefits and reduction in the emissions of methane (CH4), biogenic carbon dioxide (CO2), non-methane volatile organic compounds (NMVOCs), nitrous oxide (N2O), nitrogen oxide (NOx) and carbon monoxide (CO) from landfills. Technologies required to reduce or eliminate greenhouse gases emission, sustainable though, include composting of organic waste, high-tech incineration and expanded sanitation coverage, industrial co-combustion for waste-to-energy, landfill gas recovery as well as thermal processes for waste-to-energy. For example, in Europe landfill receives 66% of waste, incinerated (18%), composted (6%) and recycled (10%); in Eastern Europe, landfill takes 90% and recycled (10%). In the USA, recycling, for instance, takes care of cans, bottles, shipping cardboard, unsold food and scrap. In dealing with the cost of sustainable solid waste management, different principles have been developed: extended product responsibility in which waste disposal cost is inputted in the market price of the product and the polluter pays principle. Success story of sustainable solid waste management is reported in; a case study in Nepal with European Union funding; involving activities such as expansion of house-to-house waste collection, employment generation for community members for street sweeping, and, addition of 58 new dumpsters; installation of organic waste compost machine at Bhaktapur; creation of landfill at Katuwu Khola which replaces dumping of municipal waste at the river bank; and, public private partnership in waste management in Biratnagar with success in only one of the three companies. Expanding recycling programmes can help reduce solid waste pollution but the key to solving severe solid waste problems lies in reducing the amount of waste generated. It was noticed that only the landfill system of waste disposal is being generally adopted in Lagos State. Whereas in other places for example, there are several methods of waste disposal used to ameliorate and mitigate the issue of population effect on waste management Main benefits include sale of compost from recycled waste and employment sourced from the three waste management companies. In Hetauda, success is augmented by the involvement of CBOs and NGOs.
1.2 STATEMENT OF PROBLEM
Wastes pose serious environmental and health problems, promote insect vectors like mosquitoes and flies (Cairncross and Feachem 1993), rats and mice, cause fire hazards, flooding of streams, development of aquatic weeds, odor problems, nuisance, and so on. According to Pichtel (2005), the environmental impacts can be clustered into six categories which include: global warming, photochemical oxidant creation, abiotic resource depletion, acidification, and eutrophication. Some of these problems are related to their major constituents. It is on these premises that the researcher intends to investigate the impact of recycling in preserving the environments.
1.3 OBJECTIVE OF THE STUDY
The main objective of the study is to ascertain the impact of recycling in preserving the environment; but for the purpose of the study, the researcher intends to achieve the following objective:
i) To ascertain the impact of recycling in preserving the environment
ii) To ascertain the impact of solid waste management practice in Nigeria
iii) To evaluate the role of government in waste management in Nigeria
iv) To investigate the environmental effect of solid waste management in Nigeria.
v) To evaluate the relationship between solid waste management and environmental pollution.
1.4 RESEARCH HYPOTHESES
For the successful completion of the study; the following research hypotheses were formulated;
H0: waste recycling does not have a significant impact in preserving the environment.
H1: waste recycling has a significant impact on environmental preservation.
H02: there is no relationship between solid waste management and environmental pollution
H2: there is a relationship between solid waste management and environmental pollution
1.5 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
It is believed that at the completion of the study, the findings will be of great importance to the federal ministry of environment, in addressing the challenges of recycling as a means of managing solid waste in the country, the findings will also be of great importance to the environmental management agency as the findings will aid them in developing a model to check and control solid waste management through the recycling process. The study will also be of importance to researchers who intend to embark on studies in similar area. Finally the study will be of great importance to academia’s as the study will add to the body of knowledge
1.6 SCOPE AND LIMITATION OF THE STUDY
The scope of the study covers the impact of recycling in preserving the environment. However in the course of the study, the researcher encounters some constrain which limited the scope of the study. Some of these constrain are:
(a) Availability of research material: The research material available to the researcher is insufficient, thereby limiting the study.
(b) Time: The time frame allocated to the study does not enhance wider coverage as the researcher has to combine other academic activities and examinations with the study.
(c) Finance: The finance available for the research work does not allow for wider coverage as resources are very limited as the researcher has other academic bills to cover.
1.7 DEFINITION OF TERMS
Recycling is the process of converting waste materials into new materials and objects. It is an alternative to "conventional" waste disposal that can save material and help lower greenhouse gas emissions (compared to plastic production, for example). Recycling can prevent the waste of potentially useful materials and reduce the consumption of fresh raw materials, thereby reducing: energy usage, air pollution (from incineration), and water pollution (from land filling). Recycling is a key component of modern waste reduction and is the third component of the "Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle" waste hierarchy.
Waste and wastes are unwanted or unusable materials. Waste is any substance which is discarded after primary use, or it is worthless, defective and of no use.
Solid waste means any garbage, refuse, sludge from a wastewater treatment plant, water supply treatment plant, or air pollution control facility and other discarded materials including solid, liquid, semi-solid, or contained gaseous material, resulting from industrial, commercial, mining and agricultural operations,