Environmental Impacts Of Solid Waste Landfilling

Project and Seminar Material for Environmental Science

Environmental Impacts Of Solid Waste Landfilling


Inevitable consequences of the practice of solid waste disposal in landfills are gas and leachate generation due primarily to microbial decomposition, climatic conditions, refuse characteristics and landfilling operations. The migration of gas and leachate away from the landfill boundaries and their release into the surrounding environment present serious environmental concerns at both existing and new facilities. Besides potential health hazards, these concerns include, and are not limited to, fires and explosions, vegetation damage, unpleasant odors, landfill settlement, ground water pollution, air pollution and global warming. This paper presents an overview of gas and leachate formation mechanisms in landfills and their adverse environmental impacts, and describes control methods to eliminate or minimize these impacts.

Table of Contents

Preliminary Page(s)

  • Title Page
  • Declaration
  • Approval
  • Dedication
  • Acknowledgement
  • Abstract
  • Table of Content

Chapter One


  • 1.1 Background of the Study
  • 1.2 Statement of the Problem
  • 1.3 Objective of the Study
  • 1.4 Research Hypotheses
  • 1.5 Significance of the Study
  • 1.6 Scope and Limitation of the Study
  • 1.7 Definition of Terms
  • 1.8 Organization of the Study

Chapter Two

Review of Related Literature

  • 2.1 Introduction
  • 2.2 Types of Solid Waste
  • 2.3 Methods of Managing Waste
  • 2.4 Theoretical Review: Integrated Sustainable Waste Management
  • 2.5 Stakeholders and Participation
  • 2.6 Conceptual Reviews; Wastes and Solid Wastes
  • 2.7 Management and Solid Waste Management
  • 2.8 Obstacle to Waste Management
  • 2.9 Landfill Development, Operations and Management in Lagos
  • 2.10 Municipal Waste Disposal and Landfill

Chapter Three

Research Methodology

  • 3.1 Introduction
  • 3.2 Sources of Data Collection
  • 3.3 Population of the Study
  • 3.4 Sample and Sampling Procedure
  • 3.5 Instrument for Data Collection
  • 3.6 Validation of the Research Instrument
  • 3.7 Method of Data Analysis

Chapter Four

Presentation Analysis Interpretation of Data

Chapter Five

Summary Conclusion and Recommendation

  • 5.1 Introduction
  • 5.2 Summary
  • 5.3 Conclusion
  • 5.4 Recommendation
  • References

Chapter One


1.1 Background of the study

The Solid wastes comprise all the wastes arising from human and animal activities that are normally solid, discarded as useless or unwanted. Also included are by- products of process lines or materials that may be required by law to be disposed of (Okecha 2000). Solid waste can be classified in a number of ways, on the basis of sources, environmental risks, utility and physical property.

On the basis of source, solid wastes are again classified as: Municipal Solid Wastes, Industrial Solid Wastes and Agricultural Solid Wastes. Nigeria’s major urban centres are today fighting to clear mounting heaps of solid waste from their environments. These strategic centres of beauty, peace and security are being overtaken by the messy nature of over flowing dumps unattended heaps of solid wastes emanating from household or domestic or kitchen sources, markets, shopping and business centres. Solid Waste Landfills.

City officials appear unable to combat unlawful and haphazard dumping of hazardous commercial and industrial wastes which are a clear violation of the clean Air and Health Edicts in our environmental sanitation laws, rules and regulation. Refuse generation and its likely effects on the health, quality of environment and the urban landscape have become burning national issues in Nigeria today. All stakeholders concern with the safety and the beautification of our environment have come to realise the negative consequences of uncleared solid human wastes found in residential neighbourhoods, markets, schools, and central business districts in our cities. These solid wastes have become recurring features in our urban environment. It is no longer in doubt that our cities are inundated with the challenges of uncleared solid wastes. As a result, urban residents are often confronted with the hazardous impact to their collective health and safety. The hue and cry over the health consequences of exposed and fermenting rubbish have not been quantified, although their impact is noticeable, especially in times of epidemic in congested activity nuclei civic centres, CBDS, neigbhourhoods, etc.

A United Nations Report (August 2004) noted with regret that while developing countries are improving access to clean drinking water they are falling behind on sanitation goals. At one of its summit in 2000 (Uwaegbelun 2004) revealed that The World Health Organization- (WHO 2004) and United Nations International Children Education Fund- (UNICEF 2004) joint report in August 2004 that: “about 2.4 billion people will likely face the risk of needless disease and death by the target of 2015 because of bad sanitation”. The report also noted that bad sanitation – decaying or non-existent sewage system and toilets- fuels the spread of diseases like cholera and basic illness like diarrhea, which kills a child every 21 seconds. The hardest hit by bad sanitation is rural poor and residents of slum areas in fast-growing cities, mostly in Africa and Asia . Solid Waste Landfills.

Although there is no immediate danger from the methane emitted in atmosphere from landfills, over time it could accumulate inside the landfill mass, thus increasing its concentration with attendant potential to modify the Earth’s climate. 36 percent of human caused methane releases come from our municipal solid waste landfills (USEPA, 1999). A ton of municipal solid waste land-filled produces 123 pounds of methane- a potent greenhouse gas, 20 times more effective at trapping heat in the atmosphere than carbon dioxide (EA, 2008). Hulme et al. (1995) list the adverse impacts of the increased concentrations of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere to include: a threat to disrupt the diversity of habitats and the life dependent on them. In particular, our health, agriculture, water resources, forests, wildlife, and coastal areas are vulnerable to the changes that global warming may bring. It further state that a rise of only a few degrees in the Earth’s average temperature could result in more frequent and intense storms, flooding of beaches, bay marshes, and other low-lying coastal areas; more precipitation in some areas and not enough in others and wider distribution of certain infectious diseases. Such significant changes, note NEST (1991), Hulme et al. (1995) and Nicholson (2001) could damage communities and national economies as well as alter the natural world.

Developing countries like Nigeria are particularly at risk because of her bad waste management system and unhealthy disposal practices. The problem of solid waste disposal is one of the most serious environmental problems facing many cities 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. Contreau (1982) submitted 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.

1.2 Statement of the Problem

Developing country like Nigeria is particularly at risk, because of her bad waste management system and unhealthy disposal practices. Global temperature will continue to increase causing further disruption to climate patterns. Ultimately, all this can only be brought under control by engaging in sustainable waste management practices, and stabilizing greenhouse gases concentrations in the atmosphere. It is on this backdrop that the researcher intends to investigate the impact of solid waste on land fill in Nigeria.

1.3 Objective of the Study

  1. To investigate the effect of solid waste management practice on the environment.
  2. To determine the effect of solid waste land fill on the environment
  3. To appraise the strategy for effective solid waste land fill management practice
  4. To determine the management practices of Nigeria for effective solid waste management land fill

1.4 Research Hypotheses

For the successful completion of the study, the following hypotheses were formulated:

  1. H0: solid waste land fill has no significant impact on the environment
    H1: solid waste land fill has a significant impact on the environment
  2. H0: there is no significant relationship between solid waste land fill emission and environmental pollution
    H2: there is a significant relationship between solid waste land fill emission and environmental pollution.

1.5 Significance of the Study

The study shall provide a structural study on solid waste

It shall investigate the effect of solid waste on the environment

The study shall analyze strategies for effective waste management practice. It shall provide a reference source of information for environmental experts. It is believed that at the completion of the study, the findings will be of great importance to the ministry of environment in ensuring that the environment is devoid of pollution. The findings will also be of great benefit to the waste management agency in ensuring that the waste are properly disposed to ensure that it does not constitute a major air pollution in the society. The study will also be of importance to researcher who wishes to carry out investigation in similar topic. Finally, the study will be of importance to lecturers, students, teachers and academia’s as the findings will add to the pool of knowledge.

1.6 Scope and Limitation of the Study

The scope of the study covers the impact of solid waste land fill in Nigeria but in the cause of the study, the researcher encounters some constrain which limited the scope of the study;

(a) Availability of Research Material:

The research material available to the researcher is insufficient, thereby limiting the study.

(b) Time:

The time frame allocated to the study does not enhance wider coverage as the researcher has to combine other academic activities and examinations with the study.

(c) Finance:

The finance available for the research work does not allow for wider coverage as resources are very limited as the researcher has other academic bills to cover.

1.7 Definition of Terms

Land Fill

A landfill site (also known as a tip, dump, rubbish dump, garbage dump or dumping ground and historically as a midden[1]) is a site for the disposal of waste materials by burial and the oldest form of waste treatment (although the burial part is modern; historically, refuse was just left in piles or thrown into pits). Historically, landfills have been the most common method of organized waste disposal and remain so in many places around the world.


Land, sometimes referred to as dry land, is the solid surface of the Earth that is not permanently covered by water. The vast majority of human activity throughout history has occurred in land areas that support agriculture, habitat, and various natural resources.


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

Solid Waste

The American Public Liquid Association in 1975 defined solid waste as unwanted and useless material with insufficient liquid content to be free flowing, because of its sticky nature, solid waste has the ability to accumulating and physically insulting and degrading the environment if not well managed.

1.8 Organization of the Study

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

  • Chapter one is concern with the introduction, which consist of the (background of the study), statement of the problem, objectives of the study, research questions, research hypotheses, significance of the study, scope of the study etc.
  • Chapter two being the review of the related literature presents the theoretical framework, conceptual framework and other areas concerning the subject matter.
  • Chapter three is a research methodology covers deals on the research design and methods adopted in the study.
  • Chapter four concentrate on the data collection and analysis and presentation of finding.
  • Chapter five gives summary, conclusion, and recommendations made of the study.

Chapter Five

Summary Conclusion and Recommendation

5.1 Introduction

It is important to ascertain that the objective of this study was to ascertain the land use policy and tourism development 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 of land use policy and how to develop tourism in Nigeria.

5.2 Summary

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.

5.3 Conclusion

Fire incidents on landfills and dumps in Nigeria, especially those involving burning tyres will continue to pose a serious risk to the health of nearby residents through prolonged or repeated exposure to the toxic chemicals they emit and the contamination of groundwater. Some of the hazardous chemical compounds emitted by burning tyres are capable of causing severe health conditions such as reproductive and developmental disorders, and cancers in humans. Effective landfill management by the operators is therefore necessary to prevent the occurrence of these fires in order to protect the environment and human health. The disposal of waste tyres should be prohibited at all landfills by thoroughly inspecting and controlling incoming waste. Buried waste should also be compacted on a regular basis to prevent hot spots from forming. Since methane is highly flammable and can pose a fire hazard, gas collection and control systems should be installed at the sites to collect landfill gas which can be flared to convert methane to gases less harmful to the environment or converted to energy. This research examines landfill emission and their impact on the environment in Nigeria and therefore calls for the need to improve on waste management practices and construct well engineered sanitary landfills to ensure the protection of human health and the environment.

5.4 Recommendation

Haven successfully completed the study, the following recommendations are put forward by the researcher:

  1. Strategic environmental planning of waste management practices should be put in place
  2. There is need to ensure strict adherence to guidance and cost analysis of solid waste options in the area.
  3. Community participation in collection, selection of sites and design of facilities is inherently essential for sustainability.
  4. There is need to strengthen the work force, by recruiting more personnel in the Waste Management Authority.
  5. Government should provide adequate funds for waste management personnel for the purchase of more evacuating vehicles and waste disposal containers.
  6. There is need for environmental and public health education on the danger of indiscriminate waste disposal in the study area.

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