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The 5Rs for waste management of abandoned infrastructure in Nigeria.

Ogunnusi, Mercy; Salman, Huda; Laing, Richard; Omotayo, Temitope


Richard Laing

Temitope Omotayo


This paper focused on how the 5Rs concepts can be adopted to resuscitate abandoned infrastructure in Nigeria while curbing the challenges faced in the Nigerian environment. Sustainable development is intended to meet present needs without compromising the needs of the generations to come. However, the innumerable number of incomplete and abandoned infrastructure projects in Nigeria brings into question the government's aspirations toward sustainable development in Nigeria. Abandoned infrastructure harms the economy, society and the environment. These infrastructures cluttered the entire environment of Nigeria, and many authors tagged the country as the world's junkyard for abandoned infrastructure, full of hide-outs for nefarious activities. The menace constituted by this abandonment also includes a threat to public health, creating an abode for pests, and a waste of useful, scarce, economic and material resources. The initial concept of the R system of sustainability was 3Rs: reduce, reuse and recycle, which are alternatives for waste management that progressively gained attention in the 1970s. Nevertheless, a new concept of dealing with waste includes multiple 5Rs systems consisting of a rethink, reduce, reuse, refurbish, and regulation. These new concept attempts to promote waste management required to be done effectively. This paper illustrated how the Rs concept could sustainably address the waste generated by abandoned infrastructure in Nigeria through semi-structured interviews. Eight (8) construction professionals, including architects, Project Managers, Engineers, Quantity Surveyors and Contractors, participated in the interview. The interviews were transcribed and analysed through qualitative content analysis. The findings revealed the need for the government to rethink how best these structures can be put to use, reduce the development of excess infrastructure and salvage projects by refurbishing and reusing them. The possible implication of the findings initiated a paradigm shift in sustainable development that is not just for Nigeria only, but globally.


OGUNNUSI, M., SALMAN, H., LAING, R. and OMOTAYO, T. 2022. The 5Rs for waste management of abandoned infrastructure in Nigeria. In Proceedings of the 8th International Sustainable, ecological, engineering, design for society (SEEDS) conference 2022 (SEEDS 2022): sustainability across the built and natural environments, 31 August - 2 September 2022, Bristol, UK: [virtual event]. Leeds: Leeds Beckett University [online], (Forthcoming). To be made available at

Presentation Conference Type Conference Paper (unpublished)
Conference Name 8th International conference for Sustainable ecological engineering design for society 2022 (SEEDS 2022): sustainability across the built and natural environments
Conference Location Bristol, UK: [virtual event]
Start Date Aug 31, 2022
End Date Sep 2, 2022
Deposit Date Dec 20, 2022
Publicly Available Date Dec 20, 2022
Keywords Abandoned infrastructure; Sustainable development; Waste management; Refurbishment
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Publisher URL
Related Public URLs (Presentation recording)
Additional Information A video recording of this award winning presentation is available on Youtube at