Seminar in Oslo on infrastructure

Change of environmental conditions

Habitat Norway is hosting a seminar series throughout 2013 on infrastructure. The series will address how infrastructural systems relate to planning, economy, informality, livelihoods and environmental degradation. On August 28, Onyanta Adama, researcher at NAI, will give a presentation on ‘Livelihoods and Urban Environmental Sustainability: Waste picking in Kaduna, Nigeria’.

– It is difficult to talk about the urban environment in the south without a reference to poverty. My presentation highlights the importance of waste picking as a livelihood survival strategy as well as the positive and negative impacts on the environment, says Onyanta Adama.

In a year that is witnessing a lot of extreme weather conditions across the globe, the presentation touches on current global concerns for the environment but from perspectives of the south. In the language of good governance, informality is an anomaly and symbolizes the disfunctionality of African cities. However, it cannot be ignored because it is the norm in many cities.

– The informal waste sector plays a crucial role not only in poverty reduction but also as gap-filler especially in areas not covered by the formal systems. Crucially, there are implications for the urban environment, says Onyanta Adama.

Municipal Solid Waste Management (MSWM), identified as a major contributor to climate change is a global problem but more so in Africa where the inability of governments to cope defines the sector. By recovering and reducing the amount of waste that goes for final disposal, the informal sector is a major driver for resource recovery. In the absence of formal initiatives by the government, it is indeed difficult to imagine the environmental conditions of the city of Kaduna without the activities of the different groups of waste pickers operating in different spaces.

The following subjects will be discussed at the conference: water, sanitation, electricity, public transportation and solid waste management.

Find more information about the seminar here.

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