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ASU, Nigerian center partner to turn waste into a resource

Lagos, Nigeria
November 19, 2014

On average, the 21 million inhabitants of Lagos, Nigeria, the second fastest-growing city in Africa, throw out 12,000 tons of waste a day. Health concerns arise when that waste is compounded by air pollution and cramped living spaces. Nigerian leaders turned to Arizona State University and the City of Phoenix’s Resource Innovation and Solutions Network (RISN) to improve Lagos’ sanitation infrastructure by establishing a hub called RISN Nigeria.

“Lagos’ booming population is putting stress on a waste system that is already suffering,” said Olufemi Olarewaju, co-founder of the Sustainability School Lagos, leader of its Sustainability Solutions Practice and a research fellow at the Center for Public Policy Alternatives. “We now realize that Lagos’ waste is a resource – a resource that can be used to create jobs, products and renewable energy. RISN Nigeria will bring public and private collaborators together to research and deploy technologies like biomass and foster the education of future waste entrepreneurs.”

RISN Nigeria is the first international hub of the Resource Innovation and Solutions Network, a partnership between ASU’s Global Sustainability Solutions Services, a program of the Rob and Melani Walton Sustainability Solutions Initiatives, and the City of Phoenix’s Reimagine Phoenix program. It will be housed in the Sustainability School Lagos, harnessing the knowledge of local and global academics, practitioners, consultants and students that will help inform Lagos’ waste solutions.

The Resource Innovation and Solutions Network convenes multiple stakeholders across the world to collaborate in partnerships, propose real-world projects and grow a global network that solves resource management issues and furthers circular economies. RISN currently features ten partner organizations, including Mayo Health Care of Arizona, Republic Services and Ameresco. Current projects include regional greenhouse gas emissions inventories, multi-family dwelling recycling programs and pre-consumer food waste studies.

“RISN Nigeria will help Lagos sustainably provide for its growing population’s resource consumption,” said Dan O’Neill, general manager of the Global Sustainability Solutions Services. “ASU partnered with the City of Phoenix to establish the first RISN hub in Phoenix, and now we’re able to transfer what we’ve learned and implemented to Lagos. The wicked or complex issues of sustainability require a global effort by every knowledge base out there, and we’re proud to be a part of the solution.”

Media contact:
Jason Franz,
(480) 727-4072