By Ayo Ajayi
A waste management expert and professor of Industrial Chemistry (Materials), Professor Kolawole Ajanaku has recommended the use of Artificial Intelligence (Robots) to achieve smart solutions to the management of waste in the country.
He also proposed the need to imbibe what he called the 3Rs approach of Reduce, Reuse and Recycling of waste as a means of sustainable drive.
Ajanaku made the recommendation in his presentation titled, “Solid Waste Revolution: The Artificial Intelligence Towards Smart, Sustainable and Safe Cities,” at the 21st Inaugural Lecture of Covenant University, Ota on Friday.
“The need to have a selective, progressive plan for a smart waste collection process is inevitable as we drive towards the attainment of a smart city.
“Some of these strategies include using technology for operational analytics and route optimization as these can considerably lead to achieving sustainability goal in this wise and reducing the operational cost.
“This is where the artificial intelligence comes into play by having electronic sensors, digitalization and coding of goods with recyclable properties and gradually automating material and processes towards the collection, sorting and recycling them into valuable products.
“This is the way to go in order to achieve smart solutions for the management of waste in the city,” he explained.
Professor Ajanaku, who is the immediate past Dean of College of Science and Technology of the University also called for mutual agreement among individuals, communities and government to solve the waste problems in line with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in order to have a sustainable environment.
“There is a need to set up an SDG index of measurement. This will promote healthy competition among states by evaluating the progress of implementation as it concerns the social, economic and environmental terms that will help us to achieve the SDGs by 2030,” he said.
The Lecturer also charged the companies using PET as their packaging process to come up with strategies to reduce plastic pollution which has become a social and environmental concern.
He advised on the creation of a sustainable collection and recycling method through a buy-back approach to achieve the process which makes it possible for treatment and reuse strategy.
Ajanaku highlighted his academic contributions to solving waste problems, particularly, brewing waste, his contributions to human foods, the field of food chemistry, the use of waste glass in the production of porcelain tiles and waste to wealth initiatives at Covenant University.
The University management, led by the Vice-Chancellor, Professor AAA Atayero, Senate members, faculty, staff and students were in attendance at the Lecture.
Family, friends and loved ones also defiled the rain to honour Professor Ajanaku, who is the first professor to present an inaugural lecture from the Chemistry Department where he was two times Head of Department