There is no gainsaying that technology and “connected learning” have become a staple in education fostering collaborative learning, digital problem solving mechanism.
Truly, new opportunities are shifting conventional boundaries surrounding the learning experience. Yes, students of Queens College, Yaba Lagos are testimonies to this fact.
They built a free-touch, smart dustbin; a type of waste bin that holds rubbish until it is collected and it is meant to enhance hygienic lifestyle among occupants of a building or an environment.
We are all aware how refuse disposal has become one of the major environmental problems that developing countries like ours are faced with.
Challenges of Waste Management in Nigeria:
The challenges range from health hazard, traffic congestion, unsightliness, unpleasantness and blockage of drainages which lead to flooding.
Some of the issues surrounding waste management in Nigeria include, but not limited to insufficient funding; rapid population growth; poor investment in infrastructure development; low-skilled administrative and managerial personnel badly versed in technical issues; lack of effective systems for data management; uncoordinated institutional functions; inaccurate planning; legal framework in need of serious improvements and corrections; non-compliance with existing rules; wrong attitude of the population to waste disposal; uncontrolled urbanization; lack of scientific research; weak political will on the part of leading state officials. These are the main problems that must be carefully considered and eliminated.
If not to pay attention to them, the situation with the garbage processing will only worsen and acquire new frightening scales with every year.
Even a report by the Waste Management Society of Nigeria (WAMASON) in 2014 decried the absence of waste management infrastructure that could recycle the 65 million tonnes of waste annually in the country.
Currently, statistics showed that Nigeria generates 1.1million tonnes of e-waste yearly with about 40 per cent generated in Lagos state.
However, the four students of Queens College, Yaba in Senior Secondary two (SS2) at the recent celebration of the establishment of the 200th Cisco Networking Academies in Nigeria, showcased their solution to the amazement of senior executives from Cisco and other partners present at the occasion.
This is another testimony to how the global technology leader, Cisco, has shown its commitment to strengthen digital skills in Nigeria.
The 200 Networking Academies in Nigeria bequeaths the country with the highest number of Cisco NetAcads in Africa.
The students – Sadiq Aishah, Alade Olamide, Amoo Ebunoluwa and Iroanya Precious– told TechEconomy.ng how they want to venture into waste management technology solutions.
“This is a means to fight some diseases we face in Africa. For instance, we know there are still cases of Ebola in Africa and who knows if another case may be reported in Nigeria.
“But we want to prevent such by ensuring more efficient means to dispose our refuse. So, through the Cisco Network Academy we were inspired to build the free-touch Smart Dustin.
“What this means is that you need not to open and close it with your hands while disposing your waste.
“Once you approach the bin, the sensors intercept the signal and it opens by itself.
“It is meant to enhance our hygienic and curtail the spread of diseases. You recall that Ebola experience; and we know Ebola is back which over 1500 cases have been reported in Congo. So, with our smart dustbin we can contain the spread of such disease.
“Also, in some public places there are cases of bins overflow causing mountain of refuse dumps. Thus, our bin is meant to contact recycling companies, waste management authorities like the Lagos State Waste Management Authority (LAWMA); such that as the bin gets to a certain threshold it alerts the Authority to take necessary action. It beeps them concerning the particular location. The recycling companies could come and pick up either the glasses or plastics as raw materials they need to reproduce.
“Even at BRT terminals, hospitals, schools, government offices and other population density areas; it can be used at homes as well.
Putting the prototype to test
“We want to test the prototype we developed in our school – Queens College, Yaba. We are carrying out a one-week test-run. We are going to place the bin in our school to see how long the battery will last. If our School Principal likes it she can approve for its usage. We place to put solar panel on it so that it keeps charged; we do not have to keep opening and closing to monitor the sensors.
“We know it will require investments from interested investors. Now, if the government adopts this products, what we can do it make it subscription based; they can pay monthly or annual or as the case may be for the maintenance.
“We have big dreams: to start-up a factory where different sizes of smart bins can be created. The long term objective is to reduce global warming in this part of the world and enhance waste management.
“If you go round the streets there are plastic bottles everywhere. More products are been packaged in plastic bottles. A lot of people and companies are yet to understand that you can actually reuse those plastics.
“Also, we want to be part of the dream bearers of our new Governor – Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu. The immediate past government started ‘Cleaner Lagos Initiative’. That Initiative, going by the name, is apt and should be pursued to give Lagos a facelift. We believe that Governor Sanwo-Olu will finish it up.
“We need funding to develop the product further. There is need to scale it up. We will need a lot of support from government. First, being that it should be adopted”, the students concluded.
Study has also shown that by 2050, Nigeria will be one of the poorest countries.
According to the study, 25% of the world poverty rate will come from Nigeria.
Meanwhile, the students are saying they do not want that to happen. “With this bin we want to reduce the rate of poverty in our country because people are dying every day due to all sorts of diseases. We want a cleaner and healthier Nigeria”.
Watch the video as the students explain further about the innovation: