How Legislation Could Impede Responsible Waste Management

 Waste are  end or by-products , unwanted or  unusuable  substances which  is no longer suitable or useful for its intended use . Waste can be radioactive, toxic , tangible and intangible .Waste can be solid , liquid or in gaseous form . Waste is the biggest threat  dealing with mankind in the world lately. Therefore , measures need to be nationally and internationally taken to manage disposal of such waste to help  humanity from complete extermination from the face  of the earth.

Waste management is a global concern because waste is generated everywhere .The increased rate of population has led to increase in waste production which makes waste disposal difficult as well as poses threat the environment at large . However , waste management is an avenue for persons to properly  dispose waste due to the fact if it is  not managed properly, it can cause serious troubles to human fitness and the surroundings . Therefore ,As humans  , we are supposed  to be aware of the significance of waste management as well as managing  our waste by using reducing  , reusing , recycling ,recovering and residual management. Waste management will not solely protect  natural resources, biodiversity, and human life, it will additionally have an effect on the economic system in a fine way as there will be extra jobs created. With the passage of time, waste administration is turning into extra necessary now not simply for environmental safety however additionally as a developing enterprise for an economy.

However , waste management is an avenue  for individuals to properly dispose waste because if it is not managed properly, it can cause serious problems to human health and the environment . Therefore ,As humans , we are expected to know the importance of waste management and  to manage our waste by reducing , reusing , recycling ,recovering and residual management. Waste management will not only save natural resources, biodiversity, and human life, it will also impact the economy in a positive way as there will be more jobs created for running an efficient waste management system. With the passage of time, waste management is becoming more important not just for environmental protection but also as a growing industry for an economy.

Numerous factors are responsible for obstructing proper waste disposal . They include inadequate funding , over population , lack of investment in infrastructure, unsatisfactory human capacity , technical issues , poor planning, lack of political will on the part of leaders , wrong attitude of public towards waste disposal ,lack of comprehensive legal framework and enforcement of the existing regulations. Until thes problems are addressed and fixed by relevant authorities and persons managing waste disposal will remain a nightmare and recurring decimal in Nigeria.

This article aims to portray how legislations impede responsible waste management.There are numerous laws , acts , regulations and rules that regulate waste management at the federal , state and local level in Nigeria .For instance , section 20 of the 1999 constitution of the Federal republic of Nigeria states that “The state shall protect and improve the environment and safeguard the water, air, land, forest and wild life of Nigeria”. Also part II of the second schedule of the 1999 constitution provides that issues in relation to waste belongs to the concurrent list . That means both the federal and state government can legislate on waste 

Despite the existence of laws and policies made by the federal and state government on waste disposal , inadequate planning by agencies at various levels of government tend to affect the enforcement of those laws . In a situation whereby existing laws on waste management are not implemented  it will obstruct responsible waste management because the laws put in place are not obeyed . The way people behave and participate in environmental activities is influenced by their  perceptions about environmental challenges. People who do not believe that appropriate waste disposal is necessary for maintaining their own or the community's health may not participate in trash collection. For laws to be implemented, public engagement is required.

Despite the existing environmental laws and policies to ameliorate the issues of waste management, the major problem that obstruct effective waste management is that the laws are not effectively enforced such that there is low-level constitutional provision for environmental protection, there is conflict in the roles of environmental management, there is undue adherence to legalism by the courts and there is absence of mandatory disclosure of information. Because of insufficient punishment for non-compliance, superficial enforcement, a long lag between violations and enforcement, inadequate compensation for victims of violations, and the administration of administrative sanctions for some environmental crimes rather than remedial measures or criminal penalties, the legislative goals remain unmet which in turn impedes responsible waste management 

In Nigeria, there are insufficient policies in place to coordinate and monitor how environmental management and sustainable development . However , the fact that some of the laws put in place are not adequate and reasonable enough is a big issue .As a result, Nigeria's environmental protection laws are not effectively enforced. One of the difficulties in enforcing environmental regulations is an inefficient enforcement approach. The majority of enforcement tactics and methods are ineffective and not being used. For instance, no system has been designed or put into place for the gathering and management of environmental statistics from facilities and service providers, such as sewage treatment facilities, garbage vendors, landfills, companies' effluent emission data, and carbon footprints.

Another issue with environmental law enforcement is its focus and intended audience. It is absurd for the Agency to detain goats rather than people for breaking environmental regulations. Police officers in Osun State, Nigeria, detained five goats in 2013  for breaking the law protecting the environment by roaming around the Oshogbo neighborhood instead of being confined by their owners.

The weak constitutional protection for the environment is a flaw. In comparison to the rate and degree of environmental degradation in the nation, the Nigerian constitution places little focus or provision on environmental management and protection. With the exception of the possibility that such a right may not be justifiable, the 1999 Constitution has very few provisions that allow persons to protect their fundamental rights to a clean environment. Most citizens no longer challenge the preservation and protection of the environment as a result of this. NESREA, the main body for enforcement of environmental legislations lack  enforcement powers over the oil and gas sector. Therefore, NESREA lacks power to enforce issues of pollution, exploration and exploitation of petroleum and natural  gas. This prevent environmental justice.

There are  position conflicts in environmental management. No clear  delineation of roles and obligations  to the current agencies. This leads to function conflicts between them. For example, functions  and powers, before  the introduction of FEPA, have been exercised with the aid of six different ministries/agencies that had obligations of environmental management. The discordance in the relationship amongst the tiers of government, limits the effectiveness in carrying out their environmental protection, monitoring and enforcement which in turn impede responsible waste management 

Another way in which legislations can obstruct responsible waste management is through Undue  adherence to legalism through the courts. One of the most important issues of enforcement of environmental legal guidelines in Nigeria is locus standi. Individuals don’t have environmental rights (locus standi) to pursue their environmental associated issues in the courtroom of regulation In order to declare the infringement of a specific environmental right  or law, the litigant have to be in a position to start an motion and need to exhibit that he has suffered high-quality loss or damage from the moves of the defendant.

In conclusion, the role of legislations in inducing accountable and responsible waste management can't be overlooked. It is obvious that there are existing laws but there is a gap in applying and enforcing the existing environmental legislations . Legislation serves as an superb instrument for environmental protection, planning, pollution, prevention and control. The legal  framework in Nigeria should be improved and reformed . 

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