An Assessment On The Role Of Waste Management Agencies In Solid Waste Management In Awka

Project and Seminar Material for Environmental Science

An Assessment On The Role Of Waste Management Agencies In Solid Waste Management In Awka

Chapter One


1.1 Background to the Study

Globally, the management of solid waste is a universal challenge. This problem is even more pronounced in developing countries such as Nigeria where solid waste management is a major concern. Adeyemi et al, (2001) observed that solid waste constitute a major problem in most developing countries. Adeyemi added that waste management is one of the most intractable problems facing city administrators and environmental agencies. Ogwueleka, (2009) reported that solid waste management is by far one of the greatest challenges facing environmental bodies in the country. As a result of the management challenges, Adefemi and Awokunmi, (2009) reported a breakdown of law and order in relation to waste management. They observed that urban centres are experiencing an increased rate of environmental deterioration as a result of indiscriminate dumping of solid waste.

In addition to this, Omuta (1987) noted that one notable weak point in waste management administration in developing countries like Nigeria is the unavailability of a proper waste management policy. His view is that for waste management to work, various aspects of Government services such as engineering, urban planning, Geography, economics, public health and law among others must be brought together under a proper policy to deliver an effective waste management system. Ogwueleka (2009) postulated that some of the approaches used in tackling the waste problems in Nigeria have recorded very little success. He observed that, the approaches do not distinguish the different needs and diversities of the different cities in the country. He added that these approaches are capital intensive and bureaucratic.

Furthermore, Ezeah and Roberts, (2013) revaled that the state of solid waste management in Nigeria has been a major concern to stakeholders. Ogwueleka (2009) reported that inefficient collection and unsafe disposal are some of the characteristics of waste management in Nigeria. Ogu (2000) highlighted that about 80 – 90% of the wastes generated in some low level income communities in Africa are not collected for safe disposal. Imam et al, (2009) reported that piles of waste are dumped by the road side and other open spaces thereby posing environmental risk. It is in response to these flaws that (Imam et al., 2008) submitted that solid waste has indeed becomes an important issue in Nigeria. To corroborate these submissions, (Izugbara and Umoh, 2004) reported that the waste management crisis in the country is already visible. They added that to a large extent, waste management contributes to social, political and environmental costs. These costs are thought to have enormous implications for the economy and the populace (Izugbara and Umoh, 2004).

Omuta, (1987) reported that the major players involved with waste management in Nigeria are the public and the private sector. His view is that, the public sector is driven by the government agencies and the ministry of environments in the various states. He added that some of these governments agencies could be federal, states or local government bodies. On the other hand, he observed that private sector involvement in waste management is driven by private companies. He added that these companies either partners with government agencies or provide waste management services to companies, commercial premises or members of the public for a fee. He noted another form of private initiatives in solid waste management; these are the informal waste collectors which collect waste for a fee. This introduction of private companies in waste management became necessary as a result of the degradation of the environment from inefficient waste management practices (Ogu, 2000). Ogbonna et al., (2007) reported that in response to the enormous challenges pose by municipal solid waste management, the Government is taking steps to address these problems by engaging local contractors to evacuate waste. Ogu (2000) added that such steps were necessary in order to bring private sector investment into waste management and to enhance service delivery. Ogbonna et al. (2007) observed that cities are divided into sections for the local contractors. However, inefficiency still thrives due to the lack of coordination on the part of the Government and the lack of expertise on waste management issues by the environmental agencies.

Researchers have been interested in the inefficient waste management practice in Nigeria. For example, Agunwamba, (1998) reported that there is a general lackadaisical attitude on the part of the government towards waste management. In addition, Adeyemi et al, (2001) observed that in Nigeria the management of municipal solid waste revolves mainly around open burning, open dumps, landfilling, reuse/recycling and waste conversion. Arukwe (2012) added that the only management practice adopted widely throughout Nigeria involves disposal of waste on open dumps. This study will therefore corroborate the efforts of previous researchers by assessing the role of waste management agencies in solid waste management by focusing on Awka, the capital State of Anambra, Nigeria.

1.2 Statement of the Problem

The challenge of solid waste disposal is one of the most serious environmental problems facing many cities like Akwa in Nigeria. Waste management plays an integral role in human activities. Various ways of managing solid waste includes disposal by either burying or burning, reduce or reusing, recycling and energy generation. Solid waste management differs in developing countries like Nigeria, and in industrialized countries of the world like Germany. Several factors are responsible for the differences, a good example of these are the types of waste generated in developing countries.

In a bid to corroborate this, Contreau (1982) gave a submission that, in developing countries, there is much high proportion of organic and considerably less plastic waste such that the large amount of organic material makes the waste denser with greater moisture and smaller particles. Another factor identified is that the technology in use in industrialized countries are inappropriate in developing countries because of the much heavier, wetter and corrosive nature of generated waste in developing countries. Lastly, developing countries, most cities are unplanned and characterized by haphazard construction of sprawling slums with narrow roads that are inaccessible to collection vehicles, (Daskalopoulos 1998).

In addition to this, Omotoso and Jegede (2009) observed that in recent in years, solid waste generation in metropolitan cities has increased prodigiously. They added that major high-ways have suddenly become the dunghill for many citizens. The state seems to have acquired the unenviable status of being one of the dirtiest cities in world. Adegoke (1990) defined waste as substance and materials, which are disposed of, or required to be disposed of, according to the provision of national laws. In the same vein, Oxford Dictionary (1980) defined wastes as that which is not or cannot be used, no longer of use. Consequently, of these waste materials were not well managed, they could result to serious health hazards. In Nigeria, solid waste management is constitutionally a local government function. Ekiti State Government is directly responsible for Waste Management and not any other agencies. Ekiti State Waste Management Board came into being because it was assumed that individual Local Government Authorities were incapable of performing the function of waste management. Moreover, at the time of its establishment, solid waste management situation in Ado- Ekiti was chaotic and embarrassing to most of her residents.

However, solid wastes can be managed by open dumping, which requires little planning and involves a land that is designated formally for the purpose. But this method attracts flies, vermin and scavengers; the site is characterized by offensive odours and other health hazards. In a way, the site decreases the aesthetic value of the environment. Another technique is the regular sanitary landfill, which is usually a depressed land area that accommodates wastes and thereafter covered up with soil or other materials by bulldozers or other heavy vehicles. Incineration is the techniques of waste management which involves the combustion of waste at high temperature, that is, the destruction of waste materials by burning (friends of the earth, 2006). It is against this background that this study examines the role of waste management agencies in solid waste management by focusing on Awka, the capital State of Anambra, Nigeria.

1.3 Research Objectives

This research is aimed at assessing the role of waste management agencies in solid waste management by focusing on Awka, the capital State of Anambra, Nigeria. To achieve this, the following objectives are set for the research:

  1. To examine the effectiveness of waste management agencies in disposing solid waste in Akwa
  2. To identify the challenges facing waste management agencies in carrying out their primary function
  3. To investigate the methods of waste management by waste management agencies in Akwa

1.4 Research Questions

The following are some of the questions which this study intends to answer:

  1. How effective is waste management agencies in disposing solid waste in Akwa
  2. What are the challenges facing waste management agencies in carrying out their primary function
  3. What are the methods of waste management by waste management agencies in Akwa

1.5 Significance of the Study

Findings from this study will be significant to the waste management agencies, the state government, town planners, ministry of environment and the society at large. It will help to identify the effects of solid waste on the people of Akwa and its environs and the whole of Anambra State. The study will also help to assess the effects and discomfort that solid waste can have on individuals. It will enlighten the public on the dangers of solid waste and its destructive nature on the environment. It will as well serve as a base for more research work on the problems and prospects of solid waste management in urban areas of the world.

1.6 Scope of the Study

This study is designed to assess the role of waste management agencies in solid waste management by focusing on Awka, the capital State of Anambra, Nigeria. The focus of this study shall be on the prevalence of poor solid waste management by waste management agencies in Awka.

1.7 Limitation of the Study

The Major Limitations of the study are:

Cost Limitation:

There was a cost limitation. This means that we could not offer any gift or monetary incentives for the respondents to answer the questionnaire. This might have resulted in certain prospective respondents choosing not to respond to the questionnaire. This might not have created a motivation among respondents not to take a chance to give opinions.

Time Limitation:

There are two types of time limitation faced during the study. The study was done for a period of four weeks. Hence the results would reflect the impact of the time constraint. The insights of the respondents were observed during the period of study. A more extensive study conducted over a larger time period or during a special period of time like when there were higher numbers of issues, can include insights from respondents employees over a broader time period and can bring in further depth into the research.

1.8 Definition of Terms

The following terms were used in the course of this study:

Waste Management Agencies:

Body or organisation responsible for discarding solid waste from the public

Solid Waste:

Any discarded or abandoned materials. Solid wastes can be solid, liquid, semi-solid or containerized gaseous material.

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