In recent years, flooding has emerged as the foremost natural catastrophe in Nigeria. While flooding in Nigeria can pass for a natural disaster as it is caused by heavy rainfall or a river overflowing it’s bank, one key way residents contribute to the incessant flooding across Nigeria is by improper disposal of wastes.

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The prominence of improper waste management practices in Nigeria is alarming, and the mindset towards this menace is appalling.

People dispose of their wastes in drainages, roadside, canals, and even on the street when it rains with the notion that these wastes items will be ‘carried away’ with the running water. Whereas, reverse is always the case.

This poor disposal of wastes usually leads to blockages in drainage, gutters and other water ways. This then completely reduces the capacity of the water way for storage and conveyance of rain water. And as we all know, water will always find its way, in this case the water floods everywhere.

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To worsen the already deplorable case of flooding- during a flood, waste and other debris collected by floodwaters can cause increased damage to properties and lead to higher flood losses. After a flood, the wastes that have been deposited can also be a source of toxins and breeding ground for disease.

Why does my waste not ‘go away’ with the rain water you may ask?  

The thing is, about 50% of the wastes we generate in our homes are non-biodegradables. Non-biodegradables are materials like plastics, metals and glass that do not get broken down under natural environment while biodegradables like food wastes just turn back into soil if left alone. So, when we clog our water ways with non-biodegradable wastes, they just keep piling up and then water cannot easily pass through.

Thus, it is safe to say that proper waste management is one of the ways to prevent/reduce flooding and associated loss in urban Nigeria.

Here are ways to properly manage your waste;
  • Waste Reduction: The most environmentally friendly way to manage your wastes is to not generate any at all. Reduce the volume of wastes you generate by shopping biodegradable options and those with the least options. Also repurpose old items within you home to avoid buying new items every time.
  • Recycling: most of the waste materials in the drainage are either plastic bottles or plastics bags. Luckily, these materials can easily be sorted out and turned into new products like clothes, fleeces and lumber.
  • Waste Disposal Companies: Every now and then, we all unavoidably generate wastes that we can neither reuse nor recycle. But, instead of throwing in the next gutter or on the street, get it in your trash bin and subscribe to any of the government approved private waste collection and disposal companies. This way, you are sure that your wastes are being disposed on official dumps or acclaimed landfills.

Let’s all be a part of the solution and not the problem!


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