The Centre for Global Eco-Innovation University of Benin (CGE-Nigeria) has stressed the need for Nigerians to embrace new strategies, especially anaerobic digestion (AD) technology for waste management to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). It stated this at the weekend during a RECIRCULATE stakeholders ‘engagement it organised for secondary school students with the theme: Stimulating the Interest of Young Africans in Sustainable Waste Management Practices.
Declaring the session open, Principal Investigator of the University of Benin (UNIBEN) RECIRCULATE Project and CGE-Nigeria Director, Prof. Lawrence Ezemonye, who was represented by Prof. Christopher Emokaro, told the participants that the workshop was aimed at passing on a generational legacy to secondary school students on how to better manage wastes.
He said in most parts of the world, energy was being generated, while food production was being boosted from waste through anaerobic digestion (AD) or green technology. Ezemonye told the students that gas was the end product of the AD process, which he said, had been proven to be pure and devoid of harmful substances, adding that the waste (digestate) of the AD process was used as organic fertiliser, which is better than inorganic fertiliser.
He explained that the processes would be demonstrated as proof that a lot could be achieved from the wastes generated from schools and homes. One of resource persons, Dr. Ifeyinwa Obuekwe, who spoke on Opportunities and Challenges for Anaerobic Digestion in Africa: Feedstock And Digestate Perspectives, explained the AD process was simply the breakdown of organic materials by microorganisms without the presence of oxygen to produce biogas (source of energy) and digestate (inorganic fertiliser).
She revealed that most countries had embraced the AD process, as a cost-effective green technology process with high energy recovery and low environmental impact. Obuekwe, a microbiologist, further explained the benefits of AD process include: circular economy, soil structure stabilisation, increased availability of nutrient for plants, improved crop production and sustainable agriculture.
Also, a Chemical Engineer, Dr. Andrew Amenaghawon, in his presentation titled: Waste Management in the Modern Era: Shifting Our Thinking Paradigms, exposed participants to different modern waste management techniques, which developed countries adopted to recover wastes and avoid practices capable of impacting the environment negatively.
He added that there was the urgent need for Nigerians to embrace new strategies of waste management for the country to achieve most of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and charged participants to change their perception of waste as something unwanted or unusable.
On his part, a member of the UNIBEN RECIRCULATE Team, Dr. Mike Ajieh, who took the students and their teachers on a guided tour of the ACTUATE Anaerobic digester site near the venue of the workshop, also stressed the importance of the AD technology in modern waste management.