EMBRACING ECO-FRIENDLY FURNITURE

One of the ways to reduce deforestation is to create sustainable alternatives to “everyday” furniture making. At Pearl Recycling , we remodel waste materials like rubber  into eco-friendly products.


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THE BANANA ALTERNATIVE TO PLASTIC PACKAGING

According to World Bank, municipal waste generation in Nigeria is expected to rise to 2.2 billion tonnes by 2025. This is due to the rapid population growth and urbanization Nigeria is currently experiencing. With the recent report of Waste Management Society of Nigeria (WAMASON) putting annual waste generation in Nigeria at 65 million metric tonnes and Lagos flaunting an embarrassing 13 million metric tonnes annually, it’s important to note that plastic waste account for more than 65% of the aforementioned annual waste.

Image Credit: Pulitzer Center

Even though Plastic Recycling  is becoming a trending alternative to plastic waste menace in Nigeria, it’s important to look beyond recycling and focus more on plastic reduction strategies.

Recently, the Nigeria’s house of representatives passed a bill banning the use and sale of plastic bags in the country. The bill states that, anyone that fails to provide customers with paper bags in place of plastic bags risks three years in jail or a fine of N500,000 – or both penalties. The bill, still undergoing fine-tuning by the conference committee of the house before submission to the presidency is already sending shivers down the spine of SME’s in the country.

Image: aboutmanchester

However, while there is a bill in place and process ongoing, the environmental authorities of both the Federal and  State Government haven’t started the necessary sensitization to help SME’s and citizens become aware of the advantage of the proposed plastic ban bill and also create a seamless transition to zero plastic packaging.

We stumbled on the viral story of Asia embracing sustainable alternative to plastic packaging and reducing the amount of plastic waste on their landfills. Supermarkets and Malls in Asia are ditching plastic packaging of food items to embrace toxin free, chemical-free alternative of Banana leaves.

Image: Perfecthomes

Banana leaves are known to be beneficial to human either fresh or dried. According to an online health blog, Banana leaves are High in Antioxidants due to the fact that they contain high polyphenols, a type of antioxidants, which is needed to fight many disorders caused by free radicals in our body.  They Cure Sore Throats, Reduces Fever,  Boosts Immune System and are useful in the treatment of Dysentery. Banana leaves are also available in high quantity in Nigeria and with them, there is no fear of pollution. When decayed, they act as manure to the soil.

With the glaring benefits of Banana leaves to the environment and even the packaged food products, it’s important to sensitize small business owners and owners of large-scale supermarkets to embrace sustainable and viable alternative to plastic packaging of food products especially, fresh farm foods that are sold to the masses with plastic packaging which are known to contain carcinogenic properties.

Image: PerfectHomes

Beyond being a cheaper alternative, Banana Leaves are also beneficial to human and the environment at large. This solution, if embraced, will go a long way to reduce environmental pollution caused by plastic waste.

Image: ObamaFoundation

Olamide Ayeni

Engineer | Social Entrepreneur | Mother

Email: info@pearlrecycling.com.ng

Lagos, Nigeria

 

 

Have you ever wondered what we can make out of trash? find below some of our products, made from remodeled solid waste.

 

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Canada to remove trash from Philippines by end of June

TORONTO (AP) — Canada said Wednesday that by the end of June it will remove truckloads of garbage which Filipino officials say were illegally shipped to the Philippines years ago.

Canadian Environment Minister Catherine McKenna said the government has awarded a contract to French shipping giant Bollore Logistics Canada that calls for the return of 69 containers filled with household waste and electronic garbage.

“The company will begin preparation for shipping in the coming days. The removal will be complete by the end of June, as the waste must be safely treated to meet Canadian safety and health requirements,” McKenna’s department said in a statement.

Source: CTV News

The trash is expected to be back in Canada by the end of summer.

Salvador Panelo, a spokesman for Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, held a news conference earlier Wednesday to announce that Duterte has ordered officials to look for a private shipping company to transport the garbage to Canadian territory in an escalation of his increasingly adversarial stance.

“If Canada will not accept their trash, we will leave the same within its territorial waters or 12 nautical miles out to sea from the baseline of any of their country’s shores,” Panelo said. “The president’s stance is as principled as it is uncompromising: The Philippines as an independent sovereign nation must not be treated as trash by other foreign nations.”

The Philippine government recalled its ambassador and consuls in Canada last week over Ottawa’s failure to comply with a May 15 deadline to take back the garbage.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said last week that Canada has been working hard with Philippine officials to resolve the problem and hoped to strike a resolution quickly though he gave no time frame.

In 2017, Trudeau said legal issues preventing the return of the garbage to Canada had been resolved. “This is a situation that is unacceptable and has gone on too long,” Trudeau said Wednesday.

Canada is also looking at ways to hold the responsible parties to account.

At least 103 containers of household trash, including plastic bottles and bags, newspapers and diapers, were shipped in batches from Canada to the Philippines from 2013 to 2014. Thirty-four were already dealt with by Filipino authorities. Most of the other 69 containers are in two ports in Manila and northern Subic Freeport, sparking protests from environmental activists.

Source: ABS-CBN News

Philippine officials say all the containers were falsely declared by a private firm as recyclable plastic scraps and asked Canada to take back the garbage.

Duterte raised the garbage issue in a speech last month while officials from both countries were already discussing a resolution. The volatile president said he was ready to “declare war” against Canada over the issue.

Panelo said Duterte was upset “about the inordinate delay of Canada in shipping back its containers of garbage,” adding “We are extremely disappointed with Canada’s neither here nor there pronouncement on the matter.”

“Obviously, Canada is not taking this issue nor our country seriously. The Filipino people are gravely insulted about Canada treating this country as a dumpsite,” Panelo said.

Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland said she hoped her government’s move would calm the matter.

“I think we have taken a big step with the announcement today and we are moving as quickly as we can, bearing in mind, you know, the need to take due care to get this resolved once and for all,” she said Wednesday.

The dispute has been the latest strain in Philippine relations with Canada under Duterte. Last year, he ordered the cancellation of a multimillion-dollar agreement to buy 16 helicopters from Canada after Trudeau’s government decided to review the deal due to concerns that the Philippine military might use the aircraft in counterinsurgency assaults.

News Source: Associated Press

Associated Press writer Rob Gillies reported this story in Toronto and AP writer Jim Gomez reported from Manila, Philippines.

Have you ever wondered what we can make out of trash? find below some of our products, made from remodeled solid waste.

 

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UPCYCLING, AN UNTAPPED GOLDMINE

Can anything good come out of waste? Absolutely YES.
Waste, like water, is a useful resources that needs to be explored in Nigeria.

 

We create an alternative waste reuse model, which is complete waste remodeling using creative innovation.

Upcycled wastes are known to be durable and last-longer than regular wood furniture.

We have included some of our products, made from rubber waste for you to see.

 

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TYRE BURNING, A GROWING CAUSE FOR CONCERN

Furthermore, uncontrolled tyre burning has been proven to be 16 times more mutagenic, meaning capable of inducing genetic mutation, than traditional residential wood combustion in a fireplace, and 13,000 times more mutagenic than coal-fired utility emissions with good combustion efficiency and add-on controls.

The world, as usual, will celebrate World Environment Day on June 5, 2019. In what has become the norm around the world, environmental conscious organisations will b eat the forefront of sensitizing and advocating for a better environment. The question is, Has there been any significant change in environmental behavior among people, especially in developing nations?

This year theme is Air-Pollution. How can we all fight against air-pollution and make the environment a safer place for all to live and breathe. Truth is, we can’t live without breathing and if we can’t control how we breathe, we should control what we breathe. We decided to look into tyre burning, a common environmental abuse in developing nations like Nigeria.

Tyre burning serves many purpose, from it being a rioting tool, to being a necessary tool to set fire on forest or in some cases, burning it to extract oil using an uncontrolled procedure. All these process creates pollution and endangers earthly inhabitant. In some rare case, tyres are burnt as the primary source of energy for kilns.

Burning of tyres and other rubber materials as a primary source of energy for kilns is particularly concerning.  In other areas of the world, like India, where the concerns lie in the harmful effects of coal-fired kilns, areas like Morocco and other North African countries are dealing with harmful impacts of tyre burning.

While burning tyres does provide an efficient source of energy, the harmful effects of such burning far exceed the benefits.

Scrap tyres are used as a supplement to traditional fuels such as coal or wood fuel because of their high heating value.

Typically, for each pound of scrap tyre rubber burned it equates to 15,000 BTUs of energy and a single tyre can burn for up to 50 minutes.  This equates to 25 percent more energy being produced than coal.

Regardless of the efficiency, the fumes that are being released from tyre burning have been shown to be extremely toxic to human health and harmful to the environment.

Dangers to Public Health

Open tyre fire emissions include “criteria”pollutants, such as particulates, carbon monoxide (CO), sulfur oxides (SOx), oxides of nitrogen (NOx), and volatile organic compounds (VOCs). They also include “non-criteria” hazardous air pollutants (HAPs), such as polynuclear aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs),dioxins, furans, hydrogen chloride, benzene, polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs); and metals such as cadmium, nickel, zinc, mercury, chromium, and vanadium.

Both criteria and non-criteria pollutants can cause significant short and long term health effects.  Depending on the length and degree of exposure, these health effects could include irritation of the skin, eyes, and mucous membranes, respiratory effects, central nervous system depression, and cancer.  The EPA suggests that any unprotected exposure to these emissions be avoided.

Furthermore, uncontrolled tyre burning has been proven to be 16 times more mutagenic, meaning capable of inducing genetic mutation, than traditional residential wood combustion in a fireplace, and 13,000 times more mutagenic than coal-fired utility emissions with good combustion efficiency and add-on controls.

Especially troubling is the exposure that children living within these communities are inadvertently being subjected to. Children, foetuses, nursing babies, elderly, asthmatics, and immune suppressed individuals are all much more vulnerable to the pollutants released burning tyres.

Even a nursing woman can transfer the pollution she inhales to a baby through the fat in her breast milk.  During breast-feeding, infants are exposed to higher concentrations of organic pollutants than at any subsequent time in their lives. Burning tyres only adds to that toxic burden.

Saving money on fuel by burning tyres should not take precedence over public health. Unfortunately, in small villages and other underdeveloped areas where tyre burning kilns sustain much of the local economy, exposure to these toxins is inevitable with the current practices being employed.

Huge Environmental Costs

In addition to the negative effects tyre burning has on the health of humans, it also has environmental costs that have not yet been discussed. The three main effects tyre burning has on the environment is air, water, and soil pollution.   The airborne pollution caused from the tyre burning kilns is significant.  The black fumes contain heavy metals and other harmful pollutants that linger in the air and can lead to acute to chronic health hazards.

In terms of water and soil pollution, according to the EPA,

“for every million tyres consumed by fire, about 55,000 gallons of runoff oil can pollute the environment unless contained and collected”.

If uncontrolled, this runoff can then be carried away by rainwater to local water sources contaminating them.  Additionally, the remaining residue can cause two types of pollution; these are immediate pollution by liquid decomposition products penetrating soil, and gradual pollution from leaching of ash and unburned residues following rainfall or other water entry.

Credit: Western Tyre Recyclers

While the burning of tyres is not considered recycling, there is an argument regarding whether it is worse to landfill tyres or reuse them to recover energy.  While even in the United States the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recognizes that the use of tyre-derived fuels is a viable alternative to the use of fossil fuels, there are other factors that need to be considered.

For instance, in more developed areas of the world, regulations are in place such as the Clean Air Act which minimizes the amount of emissions being released by businesses as well as the fact that technology exists that can help clean and filter the emissions before they are released into the air.

On the other hand, in less developed areas of the world, environmental regulations and technology of this magnitude may not exist thus,exposing those citizens to more of the environmental and health related effects of uncontrolled tyre burning.

While many factors contribute to either argument, all in all this particularly issue is under examined and results in the impairment of health and the safety of entire communities in the developing world.

Pearl Recycling Waste Remodeling Initiative

However at Pearl Recycling, we see discarded tyres as useful resources in championing the circular economy mandate. Tyres are non-biodegradable, making them long lasting and resistant to termite invasion. They are flexible to work with and can be design to fit many purposes. They can serve as indoor or outdoor furniture, agricultural landscape and can be broken down into tiny particles and reconstructed into different designs. There is no  limit to what we can get out of tyres except, of course, there is a limit to our own innovative thinking.

Some of our products, designed from tyres can be seen below.

 

Do you want to join, volunteer, support or collaborate with us as we celebrate World Environment Day 2019? Kindly click on this link WED2019

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Contributing Source: EcoMena

 

 

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LAND DEGRADATION : A TICKLING TIME BOMB

The Problem Today

Currently, 40% of soil in Africa is degraded. Degraded soil diminishes food production and leads to soil erosion, which in turn contributes to desertification. This is particularly worrisome since, according to the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization, some 83% of sub-Saharan African people depend on the land for their livelihood, and food production in Africa will have to increase almost 100% by 2050 to keep up with population demands. All of this makes soil erosion a pressing social, economic, and environmental issue for many African countries.

Reality on Ground.

Katsina State Government has spent over N6 billion in three years on erosion and flood control across the state, the Commissioner for Environment, Hamza Suleiman, has said.

Suleiman made the disclosure at the opening of a workshop for some participants of Nigeria Erosion and Watershed Management Project (NEWMAP) in Katsina.

“The state government had implemented various projects on gully restoration, storm water, erosion control and flood project before the coming of NEWMAP in the state.

According to him, over N2.8 billion was spent by the government between 2015 and 2017 to tackle some of the 3000 complaints it received from communities affected by various ecological challenges.

“The state government also expended another N3.2 billion in third and fourth quarters of 2017 to 2018 to control erosion in 49 communities.

Can Law Review be the Solution?

“The state House of Assembly will assist in reviewing the existing laws on erosion with the aim of making erosion control a success in the state,”

What is land degradation?

Land degradation is caused by multiple forces, including extreme weather conditions particularly drought, and human activities that pollute or degrade the quality of soils and land utility negatively affecting food production, livelihoods, and the production and provision of other ecosystem goods and services.

Threats to land integrity

Land degradation has accelerated during the 20th century due to increasing and combined pressures of agricultural and livestock production (over-cultivation, overgrazing, forest conversion), urbanization, deforestation, and extreme weather events such as droughts and coastal surges which salinate land.

What does land degradation mean for health?

These social and environmental processes are stressing the world’s arable lands and pastures essential for the provision of food and water and quality air. Land degradation and desertification can affect human health through complex pathways. As land is degraded and in some places deserts expand, food production is reduced, water sources dry up and populations are pressured to move to more hospitable areas. The potential impacts of desertification on health include:

  • Higher threats of malnutrition from reduced food and water supplies;
  • More water- and food-borne diseases that result from poor hygiene and a lack of clean water;
  • Respiratory diseases caused by atmospheric dust from wind erosion and other air pollutants;
  • The spread of infectious diseases as populations migrate.

Source: UNCCD

How do we reduce soil degradation?

Use of organic farming techniques: Organic farming involves the application of natural means in farming, to reduce harm to the environment. Some organic farming techniques that help restore the soil include use of green manure (uprooted or sown crop parts incorporated or left on topsoil), cover crops, crop rotation and organic compost.

  • Green manure and cover crops: Green manures and cover crops serve as mulch to the soil preventing the soil from wind/water erosion and moisture loss. They also increase the soil organic matter content as they decompose in the soil. Green manure and cover crops that are legumes (plants which produce seeds in pods) have nitrogen fixing ability. The nitrogen fixing bacteria in their root nodules help capture nitrogen from the atmosphere. Green manure and cover crops suppress weed growth. It is a cheap and natural (no herbicide use) method of controlling weeds.
  • Organic compost: Organic compost is a generally cheaper method of fertilizing the soils compared to inorganic fertilizers. Compost is a mixture of decomposed plant parts and animal waste. The key benefit of composting is that it increases soil organic matter content. Organic matter improves the soil fertility, the soil structure and its water holding capacity. It also sequesters carbon in the soil. The use of compost reduces use of chemical fertilizers which if applied inappropriately can contaminate neighbouring streams or ground water.
  • Crop rotation: This is a farming practice which involves growing different types of crops in one location sequentially. This practice reduces soil erosion, increases the soil fertility and subsequently crop yield.

Source: National Geographic

Soil remediation: Soil remediation involves the removal of harmful contaminants such as, heavy metals, sewage sludge, coal tar, carcinogenic hydrocarbons, liquors and petroleum from soils. Soil remediation can be achieved using biological techniques. This method is called bioremediation. Some examples of bioremediation techniques include:

  • Phytoremediation: The use of plants to remove contaminants from soils or to degrade contaminants to a lesser toxic form. Some plants have the ability to extract contaminants from soils. This process is called phytoextraction. The willow (Salix viminalis) is a shrub credited for its ability to extract cadmium from soils. Phytoextraction is one technique in phytoremediation. Some other techniques are phytostabilization, phytotransformation and phytostimulation.
  • Bioaugmentation: This is the introduction of genetically modified micro organisms into contaminated soils with the aim of degrading contaminants. The efficiency of this technique depends on a number of factors, some of which are the physico-chemical properties of the soil and the ability of the introduced micro organisms to compete successfully with the indigenous soil microflora.
  • Land-based treatments: This includes techniques like land farming and composting. In land farming, contaminated soils are taken to land farming sites and continuously overturned and tilled to allow aeration. In composting, micro organisms present in organic material are used to biodegrade soil contaminants.

When soils are contaminated they constitute an environmental hazard. Soil remediation is always an expensive large scale project; requiring funding or approval by the government or local authority involved.

Source: ResearchGate

A good example of a soil remediation project was the restoration of soils contaminated with stockpiles of obsolete pesticides in two African countries (Mali and Mauritania). These soils were restored using composting and land-farming. This project was run by collaboration between the FAO* Pesticide Management Programme, the Wageningen University and Research Centre and the National Institutions of the countries involved.

Desalinization: Soil salinization occurs when high levels of soluble salts accumulate in the root zone. Saline soils frustrate crop growth and reduce crop yield. Soil salinization is encouraged by:

  • Formation from parent materials with high salt content
  • Low rainfall in arid regions where there is insufficient water to leach salts
  • Poor soil drainage system
  • Excessive exposure of soil to salty irrigation water or chemicals

Some methods used to restore saline soils are:

  • Installing drainage systems to wash salts down the soil profile (this method is expensive and complicated).
  • Leaching out saline soils by applying water to contaminated soils to wash salts beyond the root zone.
  • Use of salt tolerant plants (halophytes) as bioremediants. Halophytes accumulate salts in their shoots and other aerial plant parts. Examples include Allenrolfea occidentalis (iodine bush), Salicornia bigelovii (dwarf saltwort), Panicum virgatum (switch grass), Sesuvium portulacastrum (sea purslane).
  • Application of gypsum (calcium sulphate dehydrate) to sodic soils. Sodic soils have high content of sodium chloride. Gypsum mixed into the layers of sodic soils replaces sodium with calcium, reducing the sodium level.

Sources:

WORLD HEALTH ORGANISATION | PERMACULTURE RESEARCH INSTITUTE | ThoughtCo | VON 

 

 

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OPINION: WE NEED A TECHNOLOGY DRIVEN WASTE COLLECTION SOLUTION

Our cities are filled with scavengers who scout for recyclables wastes for collection. These men and women make a living from picking scraps; they are semi-illiterates and most can use mobile handsets. They operate a flexible method of renewable waste collection, though profit driven. Bulks of renewable waste retrieval from far to near places are done by them. Majority of people call them scavengers.

Image Credit: Pulitzer Center

What exactly do they have to work with? Metal carts which have the ability to pick-up 30-40kg of waste. They limit their activities to public spaces and seldom venture in private quarters. Let’s assume the amount of recyclable waste picked by fifty scavengers in a Nigerian urban city totals 1500kg daily, which makes it 547,500kg in a year. This can go a long way to make huge difference. Unfortunately, the major hindrance facing this type of waste collection is getting the right location of waste products within a short time-frame.

Image Credit: Pulitzer Center

It will be interesting to note that Nigeria with over 100 million mobile users, high-presence of major IT hubs, impressive numbers of start-ups focused on building mobile apps and arrays of service provider giants, cannot boast of a single mobile app to solve the problem of waste that the scavengers are facing.

I believe that if we apply information technology to waste retrieval, it will definitely bring a different approach to the way scavengers locate waste. Availability of a waste collection app, which allows users to log in descriptive details and quantity of recyclables wastes around them which are then matched to scavengers within the vicinity in other to create an easy waste collection channel, would make a great impact in the waste retrieval process.

 

Also, majority of Nigerians are embracing the “reuse” and “recycle” gospel and waste recycling is gaining momentum among various households which also makes the app useful for individuals and corporate organisations who would love to notify scavengers, recycling companies or waste retrieving authority about their wastes.

This approach can help to scale up the impact of recycling and it would have a visible impact on how we manage waste. I believe this could be a different approach in waste recycling rather than re-inventing the wheel.

Author Bio:

Okechukwu Orakwue,

Medical Doctor and Environmentalist

E-MAIL: FILL9OK@GMAIL.COM

SUSTAINABLE SMART CITIES, SOLUTION TO AFRICA URBAN INFLUX.

Africa is a continent of natural wonders and rich cultures, blessed with a blended spectrum of people from different ethnic groups showcasing the best they got in making Africa an industrialized continent.


Africa has more than 1 billion people, ranked as the second populated region in the world and with a very significant population growth in the world.

The UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs report (2017), on Population facts: Youth Population trends and Sustainable Development showed that, Urban population in Africa account 39.2 percent, this shows that the continent is expanding in urban development, with more than 220 million youth population and expected to reach 42 percent by 2030, Africa can reach its pinnacles under the right circumstances by employing youth at the forefront of creativity and innovation. However, the youth of Africa have dreams for their motherland and visions that reflect development cutting across all major aspects of human life advancement. As a youth of Africa, I envision on taking lead in developing smart cities and improving urban development.

Africa Planners Association report (2013) on The State of Planning in Africa, found that the patterns of Africa urban development can be traced throughout history by reviewing the pre-colonial, colonial, post-colonial and modern periods. In the pre-colonial era migration and land dominance led to establishment of large settlements, during this time land was vested within traditional leaders, families, and communities whereby customary laws controlled and managed all issues regarding the land management. By the time we were colonized, the westerners had their own form of high-level urbanization whereby they initiated the establishment of new settlements along the Africa coastline in the 16th century onward.

By 19 century, Africa was already scrambled by colonialists whereby British, German, Belgium, France and Portuguese planning systems were integrated across their colonial territories. After the colonial era, Western, Eastern and Southern Africa independent states began working their way to elevate urban development across the continent taking off from where the colonial master’s planners left. However Africa needs to reshuffle the cards and employ new strategies to extinguish the chronic urban settlements challenges, I believe modern smart cities and urban development to be the viable solution.

Before the 19th century, the world had less than 1 billion people. Currently 7 billion people are accounted all over the globe, with Africa ranked second as the most populated region and its economy growing at a fast pace (United Nations World Population Prospects, 2017 revision).

Therefore smart cities are the viable solutions towards harmonizing the growing population with living conditions across Africa. The pool of knowledge, reflect smart cities to be urban areas that use different types of electronic data collection sensors to supply information which is used to manage assets and resources efficiently. This concept has been raised to utilize effectively Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) for the last 20 years to facilitate smooth urban life in this digital age, hence this concept fits perfectly in Africa I hope to see in the coming decades.

Studies show Smart cities put to use data from citizen devices plus assets then analyzed and processed to ensure effective monitoring of traffic, power systems, water supply, network systems, transportation systems, waste and et cetera.

With the use of Internet of Things, smart cities reduce operation costs and resource consumption by employing digital solutions towards cities daily operations. This concept emerged as climate change, economic restriction, an ageing population, urban population growth and pressure on public funds issues came out as major forces limiting smooth urbanization. Some of the cities to visualize this concept were: New York, Madrid, Helsinki, Osaka, Dubai, Barcelona and Amsterdam to mention a few.

However Africa has not been lagging behind, Kenya and South Africa are one of the cities that managed to bring this concept to reality. Available studies shows that Nairobi a capital city of Kenya was noted to be one of the most advanced and intelligent cities in Africa. South Africa’s Cape Town has been marked as the best place to do business in the continent.  Africa has twenty largest cities Dar es salaam being one of them which grows at a very fast pace, however most of them are not smart cities, thus Africa as a whole region ought to crackdown all hindrances and bring together technologies and strategies to bring smart cities to fruition.

I hope Africa will develop robust interconnected harmonious communities that employ sustainable mechanisms in all aspects of life. Urban development plans should complement the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG’s) 11- Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable, this can be visualized by bringing in technology into every sphere of life, improvement and youth being the core part of it.

African cities generate 50-70 percent GDP (Sustainable Urban Development report,2015), these numbers will rise, if the core system of the smart city is transformed to fit our real needs by transforming education, health, transportation systems and public administration to be integrated by modern technologies  to save time, money, energy and to make life fun. Urbanization, industrialization, economic growth issues should be unified to ensure that all operation pertaining each sphere work closely to maximize social equity, economic viability and environmental sustainability.

Land is a critical and productive resource in Africa, I anticipate that land disputes issues to be extinguished in the next decade, so that we can plan our settlements effectively, cities consume 2/3 of the world resources and 54 percent of the people live in urban areas (Sustainable Urban Development report,2015), I believe if Africa works on strengthening city’s finances, governance system, improving health ,life standards and land use planning for urban transformation, smart cities and urban development will be visualized.

 

Padili Mikomangwa

Geographer and Environmentalist writes from Tanzania.

He can be reached via Cell: +255763635597.

Email: padilijm@gmail.com

 

A PIECE OF CLOTH, A TRUCK OF TRASH.

One garbage truck of clothes is burned or sent to landfills every second!


The average consumer bought 60 percent more clothes in 2014 than in 2000, but kept each garment for half as long. 

Think about how many sweaters, scarves and other clothes were given as gifts this holiday season. How many times will people wear them before throwing them out? Probably far fewer than you think.

Gone are the days when people would buy a shirt and wear it for years. In a world of accelerating demand for apparel, consumers want—and can increasingly afford—new clothing after wearing garments only a few times. Entire business models are built on the premise of “fast fashion,” providing clothes cheaply and quickly to consumers through shorter fashion cycles.

This linear fashion model of buying, wearing and quickly discarding clothes negatively impacts people and the planet’s resources. Here’s a look at the economic, social and environmental implications:

                                                                                                    

The Economics

According to the Ellen McArthur Foundation, clothing production has approximately doubled in the last 15 years, driven by a growing middle-class population across the globe and increased per capita sales in developed economies. An expected 400 percent increase in world GDP by 2050 will mean even greater demand for clothing.

This could be an opportunity to do better. One report found that addressing environmental and social problems created by the fashion industry would provide a $192 billion overall benefit to the global economy by 2030. The annual value of clothing discarded prematurely is more than $400 billion.

The Environmental Impacts

Apparel production is also resource- and emissions-intensive. Consider that:

  • Making a pair of jeans produces as much greenhouse gases as driving a car more than 80 miles.
  • Discarded clothing made of non-biodegradable fabrics can sit in landfills for up to 200 years.
  • It takes 2,700 liters of water to make one cotton shirt, enough to meet the average person’s drinking needs for two-and-a-half years.

The Societal Impacts

Clothing production has helped spur growth in developing economies, but a closer look reveals a number of social challenges. For instance:

Ethiopia Garment Industry.
Credit: World Politics Review

  • According to non-profit Remake, 75 million people are making our clothes today, and 80 percent of apparel is made by young women between the ages of 18 and 24.
  • Garment workers, primarily women, in Bangladesh make about $96 per month. The government’s wage board suggested that a garment worker needs 3.5 times that amount in order to live a “decent life with basic facilities.”
  • A 2018 U.S. Department of Labor report found evidence of forced and child labor in the fashion industry in Argentina, Bangladesh, Brazil, China, India, Indonesia, Philippines, Turkey, Vietnam and other countries.

Rapid consumption of apparel and the need to deliver on short fashion cycles stresses production resources, often resulting in supply chains that put profits ahead of human welfare.

So, What Do We Do?
So, what does a more sustainable apparel industry look like, and how do we get there? We’re starting to see some  early signs of an industry in transition. Business models based on longevity, such as Rent the Runway and Gwynnie Bee, are the beginnings of an industry that supports reuse instead of rapid and irresponsible consumption. Just as Netflix re-imagined traditional film rental services and Lyft disrupted transportation, we are beginning to see options for consumers to lease clothes rather than buy and stash them in their closets. Ideally, an “end of ownership” in apparel will be implemented in a way that considers impacts on jobs, communities and the environment.

This is only the beginning of the radical transformation required. Apparel companies will increasingly have to confront the elephant in the boardroom and decouple their business growth from resource use.

To meet tomorrow’s demand for clothing in innovative ways, companies will need to do what they have never done before: design, test and invest in business models that reuse clothes and maximize their useful life. For apparel companies, it’s time to disrupt or be disrupted.

Article Credit: World Economic Forum

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Renewable Energy: The underutilized energy source

Energy is a very vital resource to the development of the modern life. From household appliances, office electronic devices, factories and industries machines, transportation and personal gadgets all are driven by energy.

In other words, energy holds a much wider control over the operating capacity of our modern creation.

Perhaps the most grilling phenomenon is the way our environment is degraded and polluted by energy generation and consumption, triggering the all-out demand for sustainable methods to harness energy and moving forward to tap renewable energy, hence for Africa might be the suitable game to play and capitalize due to the present myriad of natural forms of energy.

Renewable energy comes from the natural forms of energy that comes from nature and replenish over human being time scales, such as wind, sunlight, rain, waves, tides and geothermal.

Renewable energy is mostly utilized in electrification, rural (off grid) energy services, transportation air and water heating and cooling. This nature friendly energy generation method dates back in the 19th century prior to the development of coal, during this era most of the energy generated was renewable ranging from, human labor, animal power, and windmills in milling grains, water power to traditional biomass.

Renewable energy contributes to 19.3 percent of the global energy consumption and 24 percent to the generation of electricity in 2015/2016 respectively and 8.9 percent coming from traditional biomass.

Modern biomass, geothermal and solar heat constituted 4.2 percent, hydro-electricity 3.9 percent and 2.2 percent is electricity generated from wind, solar, geothermal and biomass all together.

Records indicates that at the national level at least 30 nations across the globe already have renewable energy which contributes to more than 20 percent of energy supply, this being in countries such as Iceland and Norway generate all their electricity using renewable forms of energy. Africa on the other can take control of more than hydropower, solar, wind, geothermal and biomass energies.

Hydropower is one of leading energy in developing countries, where hydroelectric dams and reservoirs cater for growing energy demand, thus in 2015 hydropower generated 16 percent of the world’s electricity and 70 percent of the all renewable electricity.

Tanzania particularly has stressed enough on this by paying much attention on hydropower potential through river Ruvuma and capitalizing on the 4 GW potential, with 1.9Twh generation capacity. Hence other renewable sources are plenty but

not utilized enough such as solar energy.

Solar energy can be referred as the radiant energy and heat from the sun, this form of energy is harnessed through a range of ever-evolving technologies such as solar heating photovoltaics, and concentrated solar power.  This renewable energy technology can be broken into two categories, the first one is passive solar which orients a building to the sun, selecting only the materials with thermal mass or light dispersing properties then designing space that naturally circulate air.

On the other hand active solar technologies encompass solar thermal energy using solar collection for heating and solar power converting sunlight into electricity. Tanzania has promising levels of solar energy ranging between 2,800 and 3,500 hours of sunshine per year primarily in central regions.

However 6MW of solar grid have been installed country wide , operated in villages , hospitals , health centers and police stations, regions like Dodoma, Sumbawanga, Tabora, Shinyanga and Singida get much solar radiation, capitalizing solar energy generation is feasible.

Geothermal energy is yet another untapped energy where is it from thermal energy generated and stored in the Earth. Thermal energy is the energy that determines the temperature, originating from the naturally generated radioactive decayed minerals.

The heat used for energy is deep within the earth 6400 Km down at the core, with over 5,000 C. Hence hot springs are one the forms of geothermal energy dating back in ancient times, currently known for electricity generation. However the outer crust of Earth can be a thermal battery facilitating renewable thermal energy for heating and cooling buildings, refrigeration and powering industries.

Tanzania has regions with geothermal energy, with the right technology we can shift the dependence on the hydropower electricity generation to geothermal.

Wind power is another potential energy existing in Tanzania that uses only airflows to run wind turbines. Modern utility-scale wind turbines range around 600kW to 5MW of rated power. In windy regions such as Singida and Dodoma wind power infrastructure can produce enough energy to cater for these regions energy demands, as the more wind speed increases, power output increases up to the maximum output for particular turbine.

Offshore and high altitudes areas of Tanzania tend to have constant and stronger winds and are preferred locations for establishing wind farms. Available records show that wind-generated electricity catered for 4 percent of the globe’s electricity demand in 2015, nearly 63GW new wind power capacity installed worldwide.

Bioenergy is yet another form of energy that is generated from living or recently organisms. Bio energy can either be used directly through combustion to produce heat or indirectly after converting it to various forms of biofuel.

Converting biomass to biofuel can be successful by three methods classified into: Thermal, Chemical and Biochemical methods, where wood has remained the largest biomass source till to date, this engulfs dead trees, branches and tree stumps. However biofuel include a wide range of fuels which are derived from biomass covering solid, liquid and gaseous fuels. Liquid biofuels goes accounts for bio alcohols such as bioethanol and oils like biodiesel. Gaseous biofuels include biogas, landfill gas and synthetic gas.

The energy sector has been facing a myriad of challenges especially in the recent decade, which limit small scale industries and factories that rely on electricity. By encompassing renewable energy potentials present in our country, we can maximize the energy generated and suffice the growing need of energy for domestic and industrial consumption.

As we are working our way towards industrializing Tanzania, reliable energy supply is a critical factor.

Padili Mikomangwa

Geographer and Environmentalist writes from Tanzania.

He can be reached via Cell: +255763635597.

Email: padilijm@gmail.com