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Experts harp on proper waste management, sustainable energy source

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By Gabriel Chy Alonta

Proper waste management and sustainable source of energy were the crux of discussions by experts during the Faculty of Engineering 2022 International Conference.

 The conference, themed “Waste in Green Economy for Sustainable Development”, took place at the Nnamdi Azikiwe University Auditorium on Wednesday, February 9, 2022.

In a speech, a former Director General, Bureau of Public Procurement & 25th President of Nigerian Society of Engineers, Engr. Emeka Muoma Ezeh, decried that Nigeria’s waste management system was not sustainable leading to disease creation, odour, and an unpleasant environment. He said the process of waste treatment has a great impact on the environment, while stressing the need to enact policies for treating organic waste.

According to the former DG, the essence of the conference was to ensure that waste are treated so that we do not truncate the future of the next generation. He noted that waste was unavoidable, saying “it is a consequence of human activities and it should involve collecting, transporting, segregating and conversion to ensure proper management”.

On his part, the Keynote Speaker, Dr. Chukwukelue Chukwuogo said that Nigeria has nothing less than 90 million tons of waste daily. He noted that waste would keep improving because it comes from different geographical zones, and can lead to outbreak of diseases if improperly managed. He pointed out the relative lack of will to waste with its clear absence in political agenda. He advised that Nigerians should borrow a leaf from the Europeans and adopt the idea of selling their waste, as we as incineratingaqthe unused ones.

In a lead paper presentation, the Managing Director and Principal Consultant, Low Carbon and Sustainable Solutions Ltd, United Kingdom, Mr. Matthew Aneke, remarked the essence of low carbon economy by way of finding solution to reduce the application of fossil fuel and employ the use of biomass technology and other environmental friendly source of energy.

Aneke said that anthropogenic greenhouse gases were because of human activities, which, he said, results to traping of solar radiation and warming of the earth atmosphere. The energy expert proffered solution such as carbon capture and CO2 utilization to support transition to low carbon economy. He also revealed that the three kind of carbon capture technologies are Pre Combustion such as gasification, Post Combustion such as Absorption and Absorption as well as Oxy-Fuel combustion.

The lead paper presenter disclosed that carbon technology improves the country’s energy security, eliminate public health issues associated with open dump sites and creates jobs. He said that as the world gradually moves to a low carbon world, there is certainly huge opportunity to transform wastes littered in open dump sites in Nigeria to wealth through energy generation.

The university vice-chancellor, Prof. Charles Esimone, had, in a remark, said that it was imperative that all environmental stakeholders tackle waste management to ensure that the goal of green economy is achieved. Esimone, who described the conference theme as apt, expressed confidence that the conference would generate ideas and recommendations that could be useful in dealing with the twin challenge of waste management and clean energy generation.

Earlier, the Dean of the Faculty of Engineering, Prof. Joseph Nwabanne said poorly managed waste had costly impact on the health, environment and economy. He said development of industrial eceonomy involves the production of waste not assimilated and transformed naturally. He harped on the need to embrace green economy to improve human well-being and reduce inequalities over the long term, while not exposing future generation to significant environmental risks and ecological scarcities. He expressed optimism that the conference would inspire ideas and discussions around the ways to bring environment and economy into a positive relationship.

Award presentations by UNIZIK Vice-Chancellor on behalf of the Faculty to Dr. Chukwukeluo Chukwuogo, for his outstanding contributions in waste conversion and reduction systems, Engr. Emeka Muoma Ezeh, for his administrative reforms in public procurement in Nigeria and Dr. Matthew Aneke, for his contributions to waste-to-energy systems and low carbon technologies.

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