Killing three birds with one stone
Waste infrastructure serves several points of the waste value chain, solving the environmental challenges of waste management while also fostering economic growth in these growing markets.
An integrated approach provides multi-pronged strategies to address the problems of pollution, greenhouse gas emission, soil contamination and many more. One of the key aspects of an integrated waste management system is the presence of sound infrastructure to facilitate the entire process from collection to recycling or final disposal.
Waste infrastructure serves several points of the waste value chain, solving the environmental challenges of waste management while also fostering economic growth in these growing markets. For Visionscape Sanitation Solutions, the goal is to implement the infrastructural needs of emerging markets for waste management in a way that provides both environmental and economic benefits. While these benefits are numerous, here are three ways the presence of standard infrastructure will of benefit for a community.
In Lagos State, the company has concession of several facilities, while also in partnership with the government to provide bespoke services at globally acceptable standards. These include transfer loading stations, recycling facilities, hi-tech fleet and equipment as well as the Eco Park and engineered landfill being constructed in Epe. The first benefit of this is the knowledge transfer coming into the State from international experienced waste management practitioners. The company is promoting the upskilling, training and transfer of knowledge to homegrown talents in environmental sustainability, engineering, community influencing and more.
This is not only valuable in the way it provides employment opportunities, but it also ensures that the best solutions are deployed in a way that fits the local market. In addition to employment and knowledge transfer in the formal sectors, the company will also be integrating waste miners on existing landfills as official members of staff. The miners will serve in a materials recovery facility to be constructed within the premises of the Eco Park amongst other waste management facilities.
Another economic benefit is the boost to the recycling industry. The MRF will receive waste to be sorted by the miners, separating recyclable items from the organic and biodegradable waste. The key products to be collected are plastics of different types, which will be prepared for transfer to subsidiaries of Visionscape as raw material for various plastic products. The withdrawal and diversion of plastics from the general waste stream is equally necessary for environmental purposes as it reduces the risks posed by plastic leaching in the landfill, where the general waste ends up. It will also increase the useful life of the landfill by reducing the quantity of waste, making compaction easier.
A third benefit will come from the presence of the sanitary landfill, which will ensure that waste materials that get in are properly covered and all possible residue of leachate and gas are trapped without contact with air or the soil beneath it. The leachate and gas collection pipes are key to environmental sustainability, preventing groundwater poisoning and greenhouse gas emission.
Visionscape’s infrastructure development activities in Lagos State are geared towards the achievement of several sustainable development goals. These include providing decent work for economic growth, promoting sustainable cities and communities, boosting the availability of affordable and clean water amongst others.
The environmental hazards of poor waste management cascades to other spheres of the society in the way it reduces the interest of investors, a lackluster tourism sector, health threats and economic setbacks. And many of these can be solved with the availability of good facilities. It is imperative that more cities and countries across Africa and other emerging markets buy into the advantages that modern waste infrastructure offers.
Written By: John Irvine
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