The Effect Of Refuse Disposal On Human Health In Nigeria (A Case Study Of Bayelsa State)

Project and Seminar Material for Environmental Science

The Effect Of Refuse Disposal On Human Health In Nigeria (A Case Study Of Bayelsa State)

Chapter One


1.0 Background of the study

human health: The importance of living in a clean environment cannot be over-emphasized. Once an environment is free of indecent waste, its impact is usually seen in all aspects of life of individuals having contact with that environment. The focus of this study was to assess the effect of waste disposal practices in Yenagoa metropolis of Bayelsa State. The need for effective management of solid waste is an issue that has required public health attention in various parts of the globe. It is of utmost importance to ensure that solid waste products are properly managed in order to prevent the occurrence of attendant problems associated with poor waste management including water contamination, air contamination, increased prevalence of vector-borne diseases, infection spread etc. Improper waste management methods have been shown to contribute to the decrease in the quality of health of a population as a result of environmental health nuisances that have arisen as a result of these poor waste management methods (Oyebode, 2013; Igbinomwanhia et al., 2014; Awajiogak, 2013).

These waste products broadly called Municipal Solid Waste (MSW), includes effluents arising from agricultural, industrial, construction, mining and exploration or commercial activities which could be gaseous, solid, semi-solid or liquid in nature; garbage disposed at refuse dumps, abandoned non-functional cars/equipments and all other materials which are regarded as no longer useful. These waste products are however at certain times are not properly disposed or managed which in turn leads to the occurrence of environmental of environmental and public health challenges (Onwughara et al., 2010; Schübeler et al., 1996; Karija et al., 2013). Municipal solid waste management however remains a major environmental health challenge in Nigeria which has been attributed to indiscriminate roadside refuse disposal, open dumping of waste products, a massive unplanned urbanization trend and growth of the population, absence of actionable guidelines as regards refuse dumping and refuse dumpsites, inadequacy in funding, laxity in the practice of effective waste management as well as absence of organized waste management systems etc (Igbinomwanhia et al., 2014; Abah and Ohimain, 2010; Agwu, 2012).

An assessment of the urban waste problem in Nigeria has revealed that Nigerian cities were among the dirtiest cities in the world and that over 80% of Nigerians use waste disposal methods that are not in line with World Health Organization standards (Federal Ministry of Environment, 2002). It is noteworthy to state that the government of Nigeria on its own part has played significant roles in ensuring that this menace is curbed through the enactment of regulations and legislations that ensure the practice of adequate waste management. This is however not enough on its own as the populace must also be educated on how best they can adhere to these laws as non-adherence not just only leads to facing penalties from environmental health agencies but can also lead to deterioration in health as well as deaths. This is an issue that must be addressed round the clock despite the many challenges being faced by the relevant waste management authorities.

Environmental health education should be put into play, strict adherence and enforcement of environmental health laws and regulations, provision of adequate waste disposal methods for the populace, timely and proper waste management by relevant authorities, recycling of waste materials etc are some ways by which the prevailing occurrence of poor waste management can be tackled and thus providing a more healthy environment for labour and productivity (Onwughara et al., 2010; Karija et al., 2013; Owoeye and Okojie, 2013; Kafando et al., 2013). Seeing that effective and proper waste management practice is a problem that impacts on the health of individuals in Nigeria, it was necessary to carry this study to assess the waste disposal practices in Yenagoa metropolis of Bayelsa State as it provided a framework for evaluation of waste management efforts and provided areas that needed further attention in order to ensure achievement of effective waste disposal and management in Bayelsa State.

The management of solid waste, perhaps, stands as the most visible environmental problem facing the capital and communities of Bayelsa State. The problem is growing daily as a result of increasing urbanization. The solid waste problem is visible in most parts of the communities within the Yenagoa metropolis, on the roads, within the neighbourhoods and around residential buildings. The environment of man lies at the mercy of both natural disaster and negligence on the part of man in the course of controlling the gifts of nature. The later takes the form of dumping solid waste in an uncompromising pattern, that can cause; desert encroachment, erosion, depletion of ozone layer, depletion of natural resources, pollution of land, rivers, the air and generally the environment (Aguwanba,1998). According to Egunlobi (2004), in the early times (pre- colonial days) up till 1970s, the disposal of refuse and other waste did not pose any significant problem.

The population was small and enough land was available for assimilation of waste. Solid waste problem started with urban growth, resulted partly from nationalincrease in population and more importantly from immigration. Ndakara (2011) also states that the quantity of such waste depends mainly on location, activity and number of people in the household. However, it was not until the mid- 19th century, spurred by increasingly devastating cholera outbreaks and the emergence of a public health debate that the first legislation on the issue emerged. Thus the social reformer, Sir, Edwin Chadwick’s 1842 report on “The Sanitary Condition of the Labouring Population, became influential in securing the passage of the first legislation of waste clearance and disposal, in which he argues for the importance of adequate waste removal and management facilities to improve the health and wellbeing of the city’s population. (Barbalace, 2003).

Early garbage removal trucks were simply open bodied dump trucks pulled by a team of horses. They became motorized in the early part of the 20th century and the first closed body trucks to eliminate odours with a dumping lever mechanism were introduced in the 1920s in Britain. These were soon equipped with “hopper mechanisms” where the scooper was loaded at floor level and then hoisted mechanically to deposit the waste in the truck. The Garwood Load Packer was the first truck in 1938, to incorporate a hydraulic compactor (Herbert, 2007). Mba (2003), noted that no town in Nigeria especially the urban and semi- urban centres of high population density can boast of having found a lasting solution to the problem of filth and huge piles of solid waste, rather the problem continues to assume monstrous dimensions. To urban and city dwellers, public hygiene starts and ends within their immediate surrounding and indeed the city would, take care of itself.

The situation has so deteriorated that today the problem of solid waste management has become one of the nation’s most serious environmental problem (Okpala, 2002). Ineffective waste management could rubbish all the resources and efforts put in beautifying the environment. Every year, the government of Nigeria, Bayelsa state inclusive spends billions of naira to roll back malaria, without focusing on some environmental factors such as poor waste management that makes malaria to thrive. Blocked drains provide stagnant water which facilitates the breeding of mosquitoes and other sickness causing germs (Ogadimma, 2011).

1.2 Statement of Problem

The problem of ineffective and inadequate Waste management is a major problem to our society and the world at large, this is because improper waste management has led to the outspread of various diseases and health and environmental hazard.

Generation of toxic air and water pollutants, along with mountains of solid andhazardous wastes, which is becoming an overwhelming problem in YenagoaMetropolis.

Strong possibility of a situation where failure to decide where to put waste or how todispose them safely will lead to the close down of some industries and result in wastebeing spread everywhere

The health effects of pollution, toxic waste and other environmental ills of modernsociety becomes a greater threat to man than diseases.

1.3 Objective of the Study

The main objective of this study is to examine the effectiveness of waste management as a panacea to disease prevention and healthy environment in Bayelsa state.

Specifically it seeks to:

  1. Examine the effectiveness of waste management in Bayelsa state.
  2. Examine how proper waste management can prevent disease and sustain healthy environment.
  3. To ascertain how effectively managed waste disposal in Bayelsa state
  4. To evaluate the consequences of improper waste management in Bayelsa state.

1.4 Research Question

The following questions shall be answered in the course of this essay.

  1. What are the implications of an improper waste disposal system?
  2. What is the present state of waste disposal in Bayelsa state?
  3. What are the modern technologies involved in waste management and their long term benefits?
  4. What method can be used to effectively managed waste in Bayelsa state?

1.5 Significance of the Study

When Bayelsa State was created in 1996 from the still existing Rivers State, it became obvious from inception that the fledgling state will face great challenges on its path to attaining the growth and development that autonomy had bestowed on her.

The challenges of waste disposal being experienced in the State Capital City (Yenagoa) is on the increase and at a very fast rate, upon this ills this research finds its significance. As Nigeria aims to be amongst the top 20 economies in the world by 2020, it is imperative that issues of waste management be tackled from the state level, and addressed from city to city.

1.6 Scope and Limitation of the Study

The study covers the effect of refused disposal on human health in Bayelsa state. However the study has some limitation which ranges from:


Finance is a major limitation to the study as resources allocated to the study is limited


Time is a major constrain to the research as time allocated to the study is very limited

Research Material:

Availability of research material is a major set back to the scope of the study

1.7 Definition of Terms

Waste and wastes are unwanted or unusable materials. Waste is any substance which is discarded after primary use, or it is worthless, defective and of no use. Examples include municipal solid waste (household trash/refuse), hazardous waste, wastewater (such as sewage, which contains bodily wastes (feces and urine) and surface runoff), radioactive waste, and others. human health

Waste Management:

The collection, transportation, and disposal of garbage, sewage, and other waste products. Waste management encompasses management of all processes and resources for proper handling of waste materials, from maintenance of waste transport trucks and dumping facilities to compliance with health codes and environmental regulations.

Environmental Management:

This is the combination of all actions taken to reduce the impact of human activities on the environment; such actions are specifically geared towards sustainable development. Sustainable development can be describes as a form of development that is able to meet the needs of the present generation without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. human health


The word “environment” is of French origin “environner”, meaning to encircle or surround.(Webster, 2015) defined the environment as the conditions that surround someone or something: the conditions and influences that affect the growth, health, progress, etc., of someone or something. These are the very things we depend upon on a daily basis e.g. water, food, market, industries, air, plants, and animals etc, the environment is a complexly interwoven system of ecology where a simple or drastic change in one aspect can emphatically or continually affect other aspects. human health

Bayelsa Yenagoa Metropolis:

Yenagoa is the capital city of Bayelsa state, located in the southern part of Nigeria. The growing metropolis is one off the eight (8) local government areas within the state.

1.8 Organization Of The Studies

This research work is organized in five chapters, for easy understanding, as follows

  1. Chapter one is concern with the introduction, which consist of the (overview, of the study), statement of problem, objectives of the study, research question, significance or the study, research methodology, definition of terms and historical background of the study.
  2. Chapter two highlight the theoretical framework on which the study its based, thus the review of related literature.
  3. Chapter three deals on the research design and methodology adopted in the study.
  4. Chapter four concentrate on the data collection and analysis and presentation of finding.
  5. Chapter five gives summary, conclusion, and recommendations made of the study. human health

Chapter Five

Summary Conclusion and Recommendation

5.1 Introduction

It is important to ascertain that the objective of this study was to ascertain the effect of refuse disposal on human health in Nigeria.

In the preceding chapter, the relevant data collected for this study were presented, critically analyzed and appropriate interpretation given. In this chapter, certain recommendations made which in the opinion of the researcher will be of benefits in addressing the challenges refuse disposal in Nigeria

5.2 Summary

In refuse disposal management there is no ‘away’. When ‘throwing away’ waste, system complexities and the integrated nature of materials and pollution are quickly apparent. For example, waste incineration is expensive and poses challenges of air pollution and ash disposal. Incineration requires waste placed outside for collection to be containerized to stay dry, and much of the waste stream is not combustible. Landfills require land availability, and siting is often opposed by potential neighboring residents. Solving one problem often introduces a new one, and if not well executed, the new problem is often of greater cost and complexity.

5.3 Conclusion

Waste management plays an integral role in human activity. The overall view of solid waste management is to collect, treat and dispose solid waste by urban dwellers in an environmentally and socially satisfactory manner. Until recently, Nigerians have not been particularly concerned about proper waste management, open dumping and open burning in unapproved locations has been the norms. The constraints to effective solid waste management are not limited to lack of policy or laws, but poor infrastructure, education, social awareness of problems and solutions, and lack of institution promoting sustainable environmental actions.

5.4 Recommendation

Haven successfully completed the study, the following recommendations were made: Strategic environmental planning of waste disposal and management practices in the study area. There is need to ensure strict adherence to guidance and cost analysis of solid waste options in the area. Community participation in collection, selection of sites and design of facilities is inherently essential for sustainability. There is need to strengthen the work force, by recruiting more personnel in the Waste Management Authority. Government should provide adequate funds for waste management personnel for the purchase of more evacuating vehicles and waste disposal containers. There is need for environmental and public health education on the danger of indiscriminate waste disposal in the study area.

The Effect Of Refuse Disposal On Human Health In Nigeria (A Case Study Of Bayelsa State)

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