How Niger could have good, durable roads – SDGs Champion
By Tina George, Minna
A Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) Champion in Niger state, Buhari Mohammed has explained how the Niger state government could have durable and lasting roads networks and save its resources from yearly maintenance of the roads.
Mohammed who spoke with Ashenewsonline in Minna said that the only way out of having bad roads in the Niger, is for the state government to use plastic roads, which can be harnessed by recycling waste plastics.
The SDG Champion said that the quantity of plastic waste in Nigeria, was expanding rapidly due to the rapid growth of population, urbanization, developmental activities and changes in lifestyle, which leads to widespread littering on the landscape.
He added that since the government cannot ban the use of plastic, it should encourage individuals to engage in recycling waste plastic, especially as no vital sector of the economy can work efficiently without the usage of plastic.
"The reuse of plastic waste in building construction industry and road infrastructure is one of the best ventures the state government can undertake, this is because plastic has many good characteristics which include versatility, lightness, hardness and resistant to chemicals, water and impact."
Mohammed who is an entrepreneur working in turning waste plastic to interlocks, said that the state would gain a lot if the state government could partner with him, adding that using plastic for the road is more durable than the current coal tar that do not last long. "It is a good initiative and it will save a lot of funds for the government to make use of these plastic roads particularly in rural areas that are having challenges of road access. This will save government funds, likewise providing access roads for rural communities.
"We know that the construction of the road is very costly. And the construction of roads is one of the fundamental aspects that this government is really focused on, so, if these plastic wastes are being used for the construction of roads, it will save a lot of fund for the government. "This particular product will last longer than the normal coal tar that we use for the construction of roads," he said. Mohammed further stated that recycling waste plastic would go a long way in environmental management and create jobs for the unemployed youths across the State. "The waste plastic is creating problems for us in the environment and the only way we can address these problems is to recycle them into useful ventures. "If you look at it, there is none of the community that you go to that you will not see these plastics scattered everywhere. The nylons and plastics are causing harm to the body and our environment."
The SDG Champion, who is the Niger state Coordinator for World Largest Lesson, an international organization advocating for Sustainable Development Goals in the state, appealed for support and partnership of the state government in harnessing the opportunities present in recycling waste plastics.
"I need the support of the government in scaling up this idea. Although right now, I am recycling waste plastic into interlocks I want to upgrade it in the way that the state will feel the impact and this can only be possible if government support and partner with me.
"Definitely, we cannot do this alone that is why we need government partnership especially since we are trying to provide a solution to environmental challenge, not just environment challenge, this initiative will provide job opportunity and enable us to have a clean environment.
"So these three things are within this particular production, creating job opportunity, clean environments, and likewise, providing good health and well-being."
He stated that if the government keyed into this opportunity, it will have the ability to create jobs for over 300 youths across Niger state.
"If we are going into this, we will need people who will pick up these plastics from the communities, those who will work in the industry, marketers and others."
Mohammed stated that there are financial constraints adding that currently, he uses a portion in his house as the production site where he turns the waste plastics to interlocks adding that currently, he has engaged six people who work with him.
"My appeal to government and individuals is they should try to come in and give us support, especially financial support, to be able to expand this venture."