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Pertti Pasanen, Iniobong John and Pekka Hyvärinen visiting the Jätekukko waste centre.

In the photo: Pertti Pasanen, Iniobong John and Pekka Hyvärinen at the Jätekukko waste sorting station.

Global waste management challenges unite researchers in Finland and Nigeria

How can Finland’s waste management respond to increasing demands posed by the circular economy? How can the University of Eastern Finland be involved in developing waste management in Nigeria? These issues were discussed during a wintertime visit to the Jätekukko waste sorting station in Kuopio.

  • Text Marianne Mustonen
  • Photos Raija Törrönen

“In Nigeria, all recyclable waste continues to be sold abroad,” noted Dr Iniobong John, who was on an Erasmus visit to Finland from the University of Lagos in Nigeria.

“The goal is to end this, so that waste materials could be used domestically.” 

The main problem Nigeria is facing is a lack waste management operators: there is a need to get more companies involved in waste management, and their activities should be guided by legislation.

The University of Lagos has been experimenting with recycling, but not with very promising results. The problem was not with people’s attitudes or their unwillingness to sort trash into different containers, but with the containers later being emptied into the same garbage truck at the university.

“This, of course, had an impact on people’s motivation to recycle. Hopefully, we will soon be able to start collecting plastic bottles, for example,” John said.

Back home in Nigeria, John is exploring the possibilities of the circular economy, focusing especially on the adequacy of water resources in Africa, as well as on water purification and water reuse. She is well networked with researchers based in South Africa in, e.g., projects that promote business opportunities for the circular economy in Africa.

Iniobong John.
In the photo: Iniobong John and Pekka Hyvärinen.
Pertti Pasanen.
In the photo: Pertti Pasanen.
Pekka Hyvärinen.
In the photo: Pekka Hyvärinen.