As the world searches for solutions to global climate change, tree planting has become increasingly popular, with ambitious campaigns aiming to plant billions or trillions of trees. These projects often have other environmental goals, too, like regulating water cycles, halting soil erosion and restoring wildlife habitat. They also often have socioeconomic goals, like alleviating poverty.

Based on UNEP Recommendations, Countries need to deliver on their existing commitments to restore 1 billion hectares of degraded land and make similar commitments for marine and coastal areas. Ecosystem restoration is one of the most important ways of delivering nature-based solutions for food insecurity, climate change mitigation and adaptation, and biodiversity loss. It won’t be quick or easy, and it will take deep changes to everything from the way we measure economic progress to how we grow food and what we eat. But the beauty of ecosystem restoration is that it can happen at any scale – and everyone has a role to play.

An effective way of achieving tree planting is engaging civil society organisations and Kaura Namoda Youth Alliance for Good Governance (KYAGG) have exemplified this through engaging themselves in road side tree planting in Nigeria.

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Esv. Dr. Aminu G. Waziri, PhD, ANIVS, RSV, CSPM, FOSHA

Head, Department of Building, Faculty of Environmental Sciences, Nigerian Army University, Biu, Borno State.

drwaziri16@gmail.com

Introduction

Apparently, the goals of sustainable development are designed for complementarities in the trio of environmental – economic – social dimensions. Part of the policy thrust is to ensure that no one is left behind while implementing one or more of these components. Pro – environmental practices and initiatives has been on the rise globally (Waziri et al., 2015). Developing countries are onsistently challenged on the circumstances surrounding the enablers and determinants of environmental protection policy process (Keeley and Scoones, 1999). The inefficiencies with environmental management strategies and systems especially on solid waste (Agunwamba, 1998), has consistently exposed most Nigerian cities to environmental pollution. This is because of widespread indiscriminate dumping of garbage on the streets (Sridhar et al., 2017). Lagos, which is Africa’s largest city, and Nigeria’s commercial center generates about 13,000 metric tons of solid waste per day (LAWMA, 2015). This figure is higher than that of New York City and about 3 times that of Ghana as a country (Ogunbiyi, 2018). The inefficiency of the prevailing waste management strategy and the exposure of the city to environmental pollution constrained Lagos State Government to devise a policy change on waste management.

The “Cleaner Lagos Initiative” (CLI) was conceived and launched in the last quarter of 2017 by the Lagos State Government as a modern solid waste management policy. The policy target was to make the city environmentally friendly, boost economic fortune and create job opportunities with a target to become Africa’s greenest city by the year 2025. The initiative was a government led policy with the involvement of Private Sector Participants (PSP’s) and covers all aspects of solid waste management. Waste management stakeholders workshop convened by the Federal Government of Nigeria in 2006 recommended among others, the Integrated Waste Management (IWM) approach in collaboration with the private sector (Sridhar, et al. 2017). Notwithstanding, the policy incited a conflict arising from the marginalized perspectives of waste pickers, scavengers, field laborers’ emoluments and inordinate collection and disposal mechanism. This article explores the listed issues:

a. Is the CLI in conformity with sustainable development paradigm?

b. Are the CLI goals realisable through the existing policy framework?

c. What impacts for marginalised informal sector value chain?

To achieve these, a syntheses of policy process discourses, and the STEPS pathways approach be used to show how political power relations shape sustainable development policies. This article examines CLI with reference to the 3D’s of Direction, Diversity and Distribution.

Direction:

Sesan, (2018) observes that, the CLI process neither consulted public nor sought the input of key waste management stakeholders and operators. It is a government led, linear top – bottom approach which came into effect through executive order. Though, CLI was primarily designed as an environmental sustainability policy, its focus pointed to three main directions:environmental sanity through Integrated Waste Management System (IWMS), economic prosperity through waste to wealth generation and social security in form of job creation, that all points to the policy direction of change. However, the policy eventually narrows mostly to economic gains which is not only inconsistent but negates the principles of plurality in sustainable development, by focusing on neo-classical economic agenda, placing high premium on economic return. It did not consider key industry players at its inception and did not allow for multi- perspectives direction that encompasses every interest as it should with the STEPS pathways. Direction for sustainability policy should be consistent, reliable and democratically designed for optimum and satisfactory outcome.

Diversity:

This implies a multi-dimensional but interrelated approach to sustainability (Stirling, 2007). In the context of CLI policy, diversity suggests that there are multiple approaches for the implementation of the policy that is able to moderate the complicity and intricate nature of the solid waste management approach. In contrast the diversity approach however, the core implementation of the CLI policy was left to the Private Sector Participants (PSP’s) and private firms. For instance, Visionscape was in charge of waste collection/disposal and the resuscitation and management of dumpsites in Lagos State while the Lagos State Government, through the Ministry of Environment (MoE) and Lagos Waste Management Authority (LAWMA), were to regulate and enforce the policy and collects waste from public places respectively. This system makes the entire CLI initiative to be ‘locked-in’, thereby making it impossible for diverse pathways of multiple actors and strategies. This was evident by the non-inclusion of other form of sustainable waste processing guidelines such as reduce, reuse and recycle (3R’s) at source. In addition, the input of traditional waste management value chain at the dumpsites was excluded.

For example, multiple opportunities presented by waste in agrarian developing countries such as the utilization as local manure for crop production was not explored. It is well observed that, governments in the global south tend to pay limited attention to waste minimization resulting into all waste being evacuated to the dumpsites with an overwhelming increase in the cost of logistics (Jessica, 2015). Appreciating and integrating the diversity dimension approach on the CLI policy is important if key industry stakeholders are required to make input towards the realization of the policy objectives.

Distribution: This assesses the CLI using the lens of distribution, which promotes just and equitable arrangements and categorization of opportunities. The CLI has limited approach as conventional and informal sector were not fully and clearly integrated, thus exacerbating the tendencies for poverty and hunger among marginalized groups. The policy framework promoted inequality as the means of livelihood of more than 3000 families became threatened, which prompted protests seeking for redress by the affected groups. However, Stirling, (2010) contends that, any approach with a resultant effect of poverty as an outcome is difficult to manage. In the case under review, opportunities were not given to Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) who were hitherto part of the prior waste management for loan guarantees, as was issued to the few selected PSPs, hence edging them out of the business.

Assessment through Social, Technological and Environmental (STEPS) Pathways to Sustainability:

The STEPS pathway requires multi-dimensional approach to addressing sustainability issues. This includes cost-benefit-analysis, application of enhanced innovative technologies as well as socio- economic cohesion applicable within the context of CLI. Developing countries are consistently challenged on the circumstances surrounding the enablers and determinants of environmental protection policy process (Keeley and Scoones, 1999). These factors need to be clearly identified and explored, if meaningful waste management policies are to be realized. CLI policy has left key industry players either partially or completely displaced from their primary source of livelihood. Researchers across the globe appreciates the need for all-inclusive participation as a tool for sustainable waste management (Marello and Helwege 2014). The policy predicated on environmental concerns, and for political power to appease their subjects by making them to be seen as solution providers, as evident in the whole process.

The influence of the Federal Government on the policy is felt through the waste management stakeholders workshop convened in 2006 which recommended among others, the Integrated Waste Management (IWM) approach in collaboration with the private sector (Sridhar, et al. 2017). The CLI has limited the key operators of the IWM to Government and some PSPs without due recourse to the input of informal sectors with decades of experience in the waste management value chain. For instance, the activities of waste pickers, trucks drivers and scavengers on the dumpsite have impacted significantly unto the lives of their families. They depend on these activities to provide their basic necessities such as food, shelter, and clothing for their families and also send their children to school while meeting other social and economic needs. The policy which sought to displace these informal sector participants did not consider multiple and sustainable pathways to integrate these classes including access to funding.

Furthermore, the STEPS also suggests that government, through its various participating agencies should play the role of coordinator and regulator, relinquishing most of the implementation strategy to the private sectors. There is no clear sustainable road map on how jobs will be created and, how affected community will be carried along. This indicates the absence of the application of the social components of STEPS. The selection mechanism for PSP operators focus on technological and financial capabilities, techno- fixes, without regards to the roles of traditional norms and culture in the waste management value chain. It is worthy to note that, studies across disciplines have recognized the dynamic relationship between the environment and development. This relationship is complex in nature and can be contextually defined differently from what traditional bureaucratic policy processes uphold (Demeritt, et. al, 2011).

The Conflicts in CLI:

A careful assessment of the environmental justice Atlas (2019) indicates sustainability conflicts on the part of waste pickers and scavengers. These groups of stakeholders are identified as an integral part of secondary stakeholders in the waste management policy. Successful waste management depends largely on the input and involvement of stakeholders (Phong et al., 2018), irrespective of their categories. Sustainable environmental management policy should consider the interest of both policy receptors, implementers and the complete value chain. This participatory process is able to promote socio-economic harmony, reduce inequality, enhance synergies and avoid non “trade-offs” displacements.

Certainly, waste pickers and scavengers are left behind in the CLI policy. This is against the spirit of sustainable development guidelines, and results in the marginalization of critical stakeholders. This has resulted in unnecessary conflicts, as is the case of Lagos which has constrained other stakeholders including government to propose what we call “after thought” proposals that will likely not yielding desired outcome. This was after a protest march to the State House of Assembly by these marginalise informal sector under the auspices of Waste Recyclers Association of Nigeria

(WRAN), Scavengers Association of Nigeria (SAN) and National Association of Solid Waste Dealers of Nigeria (NASWDEN). Sesan (2018) reported that although the combined waste management value chain engaged over 10,000 workers prior to the implementation of the CLI, this figure has gradually declined to less than 2,700 after privatising the sector.

The policy tends to be a neoliberal capitalist, which has globally continued to threaten waste pickers livelihood, see for example (Hartmann, 2018) that has invariable derailed the true intents and meaning of sustainable development. The top bottom approach in the CLI policy has delivered less than expected, with tendencies for more conflicts from legitimacy of scope and jurisdiction between Lagos State and Local Governments Authorities, especially on accruals and sharing arrangements. Political power relations is required to strengthen the entire framings, given credence to diverse perspectives. The need for a framework and approach with a clearly defined pattern of democratic processes-participatory, open ended, bring us back to the notion that, sustainable development requires integration with political process in addition to knowledge and expertise to actualise.

Conclusion

Marello and Helwege (2014) observes that, waste management policy that integrates waste pickers has the propensity for creating jobs, promote pro-environmental practices and reduces public expenditure on landfills. Three years into the program concerns on the effectiveness of the CLI policy has continued to emerge at macro and micro levels doubting realization of the set goals. The elements of political power play that influences the interaction of human-society and environment, dictate path way to this policy in contrast to the 3D’s and STEPS doctrine that advocates for plural pathways. The article further concurs with (Mbah, et. al. 2019) on the emphasis for the need to integrate “informal” sector participants, explore diverse pathways for a pragmatic policy on sustainable solid waste management in Lagos State. A framework should anchor and allow equitable participation and therefore there is need to review CLI policy including prioritising outcomes and periodic evaluation on the implementations mechanism. An “afterthought” arrangement for an informal sector participant negates the principles of sustainable development. The assertion of Raina & Dey (2020) on the need for dogmatic policy promoters who understand the working matrix of public interactions for a definite policy framework is reinforced.

We submit that, CLI is state-centered, non-participatory, government-led linear approach, with inordinate direction, limited diversification and inappropriate distribution pattern. STEPS pathways have revealed the myopic view of government singular influence to initiate and promote the policy with a more neo-classical economic perspective. The necessity to conceptualize a reformatory and holistic sustainable development policy framework at all levels which promotes wellbeing is identified by Mortensen, et. al. (2016).

This paper therefore, present a preliminary conceptual framework for waste management policy in developing countries, on a simple but complex interaction of Government-Needs-Concerns- Systems relations as described in Figure 1.

The political power through government mechanism considers and integrates special sustainable development needs, within the purview of the concern stakeholders including professionals and knowledge-based expertise, provides holistic waste management approach in line with the set-out goals. Political power relations are a key catalyst in determining pathways to sustainable development. The need for multi-dimensional approach for a successful waste management policies, regulations and guidelines especially in developing countries were stressed by McAllister, (2015). Synthesising STEPS pathways with the 3D’s of Direction, Diversity and Distribution to assess the CLI policy constrained us to conceptualize a framework in Figure 1. Comprehensive application of the proposed framework facilitates de-coupling of those informal sector adjudged marginalized, hence reduce conflicts in the area of policy implementation for living no one behind.

References:

Agunwamba, J.C., (1998). Solid Waste Management in Nigeria: Problems and Issues. Environmental Management, Vol. 22, pp.849856.

Amasuomo, E. and Baird, J. (2017). Solid Waste Management Trends in Nigeria. British Journal of Environmental Sciences, Vol.5, (6), pp. 25- 37.

Demeritt, D., Dobson, A., Murray T., Leach, M., Scoones, I and Stirling, A. (2011). Pathways to Sustainability: Perspectives and Provocations: Environment and Planning, Vol. 43, pp.1226-1237 doi: 10.1068/a227sym

EJAtlas (2019): The Cleaner Lagos Initiative Threatens Wastepicker Livelihoods, Nigeria

Hartmann C. (2018). Waste Picker Livelihoods and Inclusive Neoliberal Municipal Solid Waste Management Policies: The Case of the La Chureca Garbage Dump Site in Managua, Nicaragua. Waste Managament, Vol.71, pp.565-577. doi:10.1016/j.was

Marello, M. and Helwege, A. (2014). Solid Waste Management and Social Inclusion of Waste Pickers: Opportunities and Challenges. GEGI Working Paper, Boston University.

Mbah, P.O., Ezeibe, C.,Ezirim, G., Onyishi, C., and Nzeadibe, C. (2019). Value Reclamation from Informal Municipal Solid Waste Management: Green Neoliberalism and Inclusive Development in Lagos, Nigeria. Local Environment, Vol. 24. pp. 949-967.

McAllister, J. (2015). Factors Influencing Solid-Waste Management in the Developing World. All Graduate Plan B and other Reports. 528. https://digitalcommons.usu.edu/gradreports/528

Mortensen, L.F., Pickett, K.E., Ragnarsdottir, K.V., De Vogli, R., and Wilkinson, R. (2016). Modelling and Measuring Sustainable Wellbeing in Connection with the UN Sustainable Development Goals. Ecological Economics, Vol.130, pp350355.

Ogunbiyi, T. (2018): Uhttps://lagosstate.gov.ng/blog/2018/02/08/understanding-the-cleaner- lagos-initiative/

Phong Le, N., Nguyen, P.T. and Dajian Z. D. (2018). Understanding the Stakeholders’ Involvement in Utilizing Municipal Solid Waste in Agriculture through Composting: A Case Study of Hanoi, Vietnam. Sustainability, 10, 2314; doi: 10.3390/su10072314

Raina, R.S. & Dey, D. (2020). How We Know Biodiversity: Institutions and Knowledge-Policy Relationships. Sustainability Science, Vol.15, pp 975984 https://doi.org/10.1007/s11625-019- 00774-w

Sesan, T. (2018): “Inside the Cleaner Lagos Initiative:: Heinrich Böll Stiftung: Abuja Office – Nigeria.” Heinrich-Böll-Stiftung, Heinrich-Böll-Stiftung.

Sridhar, MKC, Oluborode, J. A. and Zacchaeus, U. (2017). Waste Management Policy and Implementation in Nigeria. National Journal of Advance Research, Vol.3, pp. 23-35.

Stirling, A. (2007). A General Framework for Analysing Diversity in Science, Technology and Society. Journal of the Royal Society Interface, Vol.4 (15), pp707719.

Stirling, A. (2010). Direction, Distribution and Diversity! Pluralising Progress in Innovation, Sustainability and Development. STEPS Working Paper 32. STEPS Centre, Brighton, UK.ttp://dx.doi.org/10.1098/rs

Vanguard News Paper (August, 2015). Lagos Waste Generation Hits 13000 Metric Tonnes Daily, Lagos Waste Management Authority.

Waziri, A.G.,Y usof, N., and Osmadi, A. (2015). Green Construction Practices (GCP) Implementation in Nigeria: How Far So Far? Advances in Environmental Biology, 9(5), pp. 84- 86.

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Rhoda Tsado

An Activist for a Sane Habitat at The Carpenter’s Daughter (A Sustainable Development Initiative

rtsado@gmail.com

There is a tremendous degree of ill-habits and apathy towards climate change in Nigeria. This trend is evident in almost all walks of life. Undoubtedly, it stems from the lack of democracy in most countries in Africa, resulting in the lack of food security, poverty, lack of water security even with the presence of three Niles on the continent, and a bunch of other low points. Hence, even with the effects of climate change on their environment and health, it means nothing to people who have not had direct access to portable water in three years; needless to mention other problems in form of poverty, poor health, insecurity, lack of electricity, illiteracy, and  unemployment. And while the rich can afford to live carbon-free, they don’t. ….Their decisions and lifestyles push us further to the edge. 

If climate change and global warming will continue to occur regardless of whether people are faced with social problems or not, if people’s misconduct towards the environment will not change because they are busy trying to survive, or applying their relative wealth to different ill choices; How can we make a difference as individuals, and architects, urban planners, engineers, doctors, mothers, fathers, business owners. . . . .?

  • What are you doing regarding enlightening others?
  • What are you doing with respect to adopting alternatives to the use of plastics?
  • Are you altering the cityscape while building your dream home, the right way?
  • What is your contribution towards improving green and blue infrastructure?
  • What is the formula you adopt while figuring out what tree is expendable and what tree is not?
  • What happens to the fell trees?

Many mitigating measures are inexpensive and easy to incorporate in our lifestyles, professional practices, and while dealing with clients or our groups. 

A group of researchers recently published a commentary in the journal, Nature; they argue that there is a growing evidence to suggest that irreversible changes to the earth’s environmental systems are already taking place, and that we are now in a state of planetary emergency.

The intervention time left to prevent tipping could already have shrunk towards zero, whereas the reaction time to achieve net zero emissions is 30 years at best. Hence, we might already have lost control of whether tipping happens. A saving grace is that the rate at which damage accumulates from tipping — and hence the risk posed — could still be under our control to some extent.

If this is true, then We must lead on climate change. We are too close to the fringe to sit comfortably. The United Nations new Sustainable Development Goals call for action by all countries, poor, rich and middle-income to promote prosperity while protecting the planet.

Nigeria needs more people who are dedicated, to be at the forefront of addressing prevailing issues, especially those related to sustainable living. I am committed and I yearn to get involved in the works that combat climate change and improve livelihoods. Are you?

Stainless-steel water bottles and recycled bag.

While I cannot do too many great things yet, I do not sit and wait. I do little things towards reducing my carbon / environmental footprint

  • I use and refill stainless-steel water bottles, for myself and my kids when we go out. To deter from buying and drinking water packed in sachet or plastic bottles. 
  • I go to the market and to the stores with my own recycled bags, to avoid bringing home my groceries in plastic bags. I opt for paper boxes/cartons when I have to.
Plant
Vegetables
  • I plant my own vegetables, spices, and flowers.
  • I have also pledged to plant a tree on each of my kid’s birthday, at designated locations, until they are old enough to plant their own trees.

I am happy to take these actions while encouraging and influencing my wards, family, neighbors and community at large.

We can do no great things, only small things with great love

Mother Theresa

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World Environment Day 2021 – Every Year on 5 June, World Environment Day is celebrated. The day is observed by the United Nations principal vehicle for the encouragement of awareness and action for the protection of our environment. It was first held in 1974, it was a flagship campaign that has been done to raise awareness related to the emerging from environmental issues to marine pollution, human overpopulation, and global warming, to sustainable consumption, and wildlife crime.

Ecosystems support all life on Earth. The healthier our ecosystems are, the healthier the planet – and its people. The UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration aims to prevent, halt and reverse the degradation of ecosystems on every continent and in every ocean. It can help to end poverty, combat climate change and prevent a mass extinction. It will only succeed if everyone plays a part. World Environment Day 2021  is aimed at PREVENTING, HALTING AND REVERSING THE DEGRADATION OF ECOSYSTEMS WORLDWIDE. #GenerationRestoration.

Urban areas occupy less than 1 per cent of the Earth’s land surface but house more than half of its people. Despite their steel and concrete, crowds and traffic, cities and towns are still ecosystems whose condition profoundly marks the quality of our lives. Functioning urban ecosystems help clean our air and water, cool urban heat islands, shield us from hazards and provide opportunities for rest and play. They can also host a surprising amount of biodiversity.

Urban ecosystems are often highly degraded. Poor planning seals soils and leaves little space for vegetation. Waste and emissions from industry, traffic and homes pollutes waterways, soils and the air. Unchecked urban sprawl gobbles up more and more wildlife habitat. But authorities, communities and citizens can use restoration to achieve environmental, social and cultural gains at the same time.

Here are some rewarding approaches: Green public spaces: Design and support initiatives to restore waterways and wetlands, plant indigenous trees, and create urban woodland and other wildlife habitats along roads and railways and in public spaces. Get local businesses to help with funding and expertise. Sometimes, the best efforts come for free: Rewilding public spaces by mowing grass and cutting down plants less attracts insects, birds, butterflies and even mammals to return to the city.

Citizens for sustainability: Campaign for sustainable urban planning, including the restoration of disused or contaminated sites, the inclusion of green spaces in new housing developments, and strong public transport networks. Faced with climate change, more citizens get involved in “adopt-a-tree” initiatives that help ensure trees -especially the young ones with shallow roots -are watered during dry spells. Digital tools, like apps, can support these efforts by tracking and coordinating individual contributions.

In Cellebration of World Environment Day 2021 Association of City Managers in Nigeria (ACMAN) shall be sharing articles and stories of environmental management practices in Nigeria on https://acman.org.ng/. #staytuned #staysafe #GenerationRestoration

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