The Importance Of Waste Management And How It Can Benefit Agriculture – Onyimba Chiamaka

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Waste management has become imperative and unavoidable in today’s environment. Discussions regarding the importance of waste to the socio-economic growth of any thriving economy can never be over emphasized.

It contributes hugely towards environmental development goals and will play a significant role in a country’s development in numerous ways.

Waste management deals with the collection, sorting and processing of different types of waste into useful inputs or components that will be reused by the planet. This is so because every organism on the planet uses and reuses waste. Humans, plants and animals for example, do not just generate waste; their generated waste is recycled and reused.

According to Dee Mohammed, the most important reason for waste collection is for the protection of the environment and the health of the population.

One of the ways we can manage waste effectively is to imbibe the culture of educating our children on values and benefits that come from waste not just seeing it as rubbish. Such benefits include; wealth creation, energy conservation and conserving the environment to mention a few. In developed countries, citizens are given a sound orientation on waste management right from early school years. “Mary Etuk”.

Waste, if not treated with care, can be harmful to the people and can be a source of various diseases. Therefore, the society as a whole has a significant role to play in ensuring waste disposal in its best practices; different types of waste should have separate bins. By so doing, makes its processing more efficient. The role of the Government is to make sure that people are sensitized and policies are created to guide waste disposal practices and also to ensure proper implementation of these policies.

The University of Lagos established a waste recycling and waste disposal scheme/project. The scheme provides orientation for the members of the university community on waste disposal best practices, and also provides separate bins at every strategic location for collection of different types of waste. That way, it makes collection and processing more efficient.

Why should we recycle waste?

We can recycle our waste because of the economic gain attached to it. If the process of recycling would cost little or nothing and there be no purchase of raw materials for production, and yet profit is made, then it’s a good business venture.

One of the ways waste recycling can be economically viable is the huge impact it creates in Agriculture through composting and production of organic manure to replace the use of chemicals in crop production.
Composting is a process of reusing or recycling a mixture of waste that can be decomposed into a rich nutrient that will be used to repair or amend a soil. Example of these waste are food scraps (kitchen waste), agriculture waste which consists of plant waste and animal manure, wood chips, fruits, vegetables and paper. Composting organic waste helps to reduce the amount of waste that is sent to landfill, it also helps in closing the gaps in our food production because the valuable nutrients in organic waste are used to regenerate the soil and grow more food.

The main reasons why farmers record huge losses during harvest are as a result of the use of land techniques. Land that has been used severally for cultivation of crops would have lost its nutrients and ability to grow plants therefore needs its nutrients replenished before reuse. Compost can be used to achieve this purpose to improve plant growth in the soil. Farming with compost is very cost effective because it takes care of pests. With compost, you are sure to have healthy crops.

Who buys compost?

The market for compost is readily available because people are beginning to engage in urban farming where farmers grow and produce foods in cities or populated areas using modern farming techniques. Compost is also very good in Greenhouse farming; the crops are usually grown in a controlled environment so most times, they are planted in bags using compost. Environment landscapers also use compost for environment beautification.

There is rapid growth in population and more people move to the cities on daily basis in search of jobs; so there is huge demand for urban food supply. Composting is a great area to focus on because the advantages are enormous.

A 50kg bag of compost can be sold for N5, 000. So, it’s a promising business venture that can create jobs, protect the environment and can also help in feeding the growing population of this country.