Examination Of Solid Waste Management Practices In Nigeria

Project and Seminar Material for Sociology

Examination Of Solid Waste Management Practices In Nigeria


This study examined the Solid Waste Management practice in Nigeria. To achieve this purpose, a stratified and systematic random sampling technique was used to draw the sample Ikwo local government area of Ebonyi state. From each zone a state was selected; thus the total number of states involved in the study was six. Based on the findings of this study ,the results showed that, there were problems to effective collection, storage and disposal of solid wastes in Nigeria. Also funds available for the collection, storage and disposal of solid wastes in Nigeria were grossly inadequate. The results further showed that, there were inadequacies in the management of the available funds in the respective agencies for the collection, storage and disposal of solid wastes in Nigeria. It was also revealed in the study that available facilities and equipment for collection, storage and disposal of solid wastes are grossly inadequate in all the agencies in Nigeria. Although there are professionals and competent personnel in the agencies, the results showed that, their number was not commensurate with the required activities of the agencies in terms of collection, storage and disposal of the solid wastes generated in the states. Based on the results obtained, it was recommended that governments should endeavour to provide basic facilities and equipment, funds, personnel especially the lower cadre and ensure effective process of adequate utilization of the available funds and ensure proper accountability at all levels in the collection, storage and disposal of solid wastes in Nigeria.

Chapter One


1.1 Background to the Study

According to the Oxford English Dictionary, waste is any item that is longer in use or cannot be used for any good purpose. Solid waste has been defined as any useless, unwanted or discarded material (American Public Work Association, 1975) with insufficient liquid content to be free-flowing. Solid waste is sticky and weighty in nature and therefore has the capacity of accumulating and defacing the physical environment if not well managed (Sada and Odemoerho, 1988).

Solid waste is any moveable solid object which the owner wishes to dispose if it is no longer useful to the immediate owner. Solid wastes are non-soluble materials ranging from municipal garbage to industrial wastes containing complex and sometimes hazardous substances. Man’s activities today generates tons of thousands of refuse which are seen littered everywhere causing diverse environmental problems. This calls for urgent expertise in waste management as the importance of a healthy environment for meaningful and productive work is tied to proper waste management. Waste is everybody’s business as we all generate waste in nearly everything we do. In the past, waste was considered as a resources. This was because the waste that was generated was mainly agricultural and was bio-degradable and as such disposal was not a problem as the volume product was low and these agricultural wastes helped to enrich the soil. This is not the situation today as waste is a major problem that needs to be solved as urgently as possible rather than been considered as a resource.

Over the years, studies have shown that rapid population growth and the growth of urban centres which followed the oil boom in the 1970s and industrialization came with a change in waste stream in Nigeria. This was as a result of increased use of goods to satisfy and meet the need of the teeming population resulting in the substantial increase in the amount of wastes generated. It is therefore important to note that waste generation and population growth work hand-in-hand.

The management of urban solid wastes constitutes one of the immediate and seriousenvironmental problems facing governments in African cities (Baumgartner,2003). The conventional municipal solid waste management approach, based on collection and disposal, has failed to provide efficient and effective services to all urban residents (Vancini,2000). The urban environment steadily degrades due to large volumes of waste which are not efficiently managed. In Nigeria, it is common to find large heaps of garbage and other wastes all over the cities. Abugo (1999) reported that 35% of Ibadan’s household, 33% of Kaduna’s and 44% of Enugu’s do not have access to waste collection and disposal services. Odeyemi and Onibokun (1997) described Lagos as the dirtiest capital in the world. In most parts of the cities, streets are partially or wholly blocked by solid wastes. Similarly, open spaces and market places are littered with solid wastes. In most cases, drains are clogged or totally blocked and many compounds are hemmed in by solidwastes. However, this deplorable situation is not peculiar to Nigerian cities.

The concern over solid waste is generated from an aesthetic desire to live in a clean environment and also from the realization that a dirty and cluttered environment is unhealthy and unsafe for the population. This is evident in the incorporation of environmental sanitation as a component of primary health care adopted by the World Health Organization at the Alma Ata Declaration in September, 1978 (WHO, 1978). This was also clearly pointed out at the Istanbul Declaration and the Habitat Agenda for 1988. It was stated that sustainable human settlements depend on the creation of better environment for human health and wellbeing which will improve the living conditions of people and of their lives (United Nations for Human Settlement, 1998).

In spite of the landmark achievements recorded by the developed countries, they are still faced with the potential risks to health and to environment from handling solid and liquid wastes.

In Nigeria, the problem of solid waste is manifested with its consequent effects on pollution of water, air and land with the hazards to health and other natural resources of social and economic importance (Federal Ministry of Housing and Environment, 1982).

There has been an increasing concern about the serious health implications from waste management in Nigeria. Some priority programmes embarked upon by FEPA include waste management education, awareness and publication of relevant information, commitment of appreciable amount of fund, renewal of equipment/facilities and training of manpower. However, solid waste management is still one of the most serious challenges facing the country. This research therefore, tried to find out the problems of solid waste management in Nigeria.

1.2 Statement of the Problem

When wastes are not collected, in sanitary conditions develop and pose environmental and human health risks. The prevalence of parasites, vectors, tetanus, malaria, hookworm, cholera and diarrhea in most African cities is attributed to the in sanitary conditions in these cities (Agbola,1997 ). Mentel (2006) observed that malaria, diarrhea, intestinal worms and upper respiratory tract infections were among the most common health problems reported at out- patient facilities in the Greater Accra Region of Ghana. In the city of Accra, major health problems are diseases attributed to poor environmental sanitation, which is exacerbated by ignorance and poverty (Vancini,2000). In Tanzania, Pohjola and Tanskanee (1998) reported that poor sanitation, and improper waste disposal practices result in the spread of infectious diseases, which are believed to be the most frequent causes of morbidity and mortality.
Wastes dump into storm drainage channels, creeks, lagoons and other water impoundment points create serious environmental problems which can result into disastrous situations. The loss of lives and property, which occurred due to the 1982, 2010 and 2011 floods in Ibadan, Lagos, Port Harcourt, Aba, Kano, Jigawa and Sokoto were attributed to the accumulation of refuse which blocked drainage channels(Love,2002).

The alarming rate at which heaps of solid wastes continue to occupy our cities, coupled with the fact that 87% of Nigerians still use disposal methods, adjudged to be in sanitary, has not only constituted visual blight and odour nuisance, but also encouraged the breeding of rodents, mosquitoes and other pests of public health importance, which lead to disease outbreaks in Nigeria(Johnstone,2000). The ineffectiveness of contemporary municipal solid waste management practices,(which culminates in a number of health and environmental problems), has necessitated the need to evaluation of solid waste management practices among the Health workers and Head of house hold in Nigerian cities.

1.3 Objective of the Study

The main objective of the study is for an examination of solid waste management practices in nigeria. Specifically the study aims;

  1. To assess the current solid waste management practice in Nigeria.
  2. To identify factors that influence effective solid waste management practice which is managed by private firms in Nigeria.
  3. To assess the association between problems and effectiveness of solid waste management.

1.4 Research Questions

The study aim to answer the following research questions;

  1. What is the status of current solid waste service delivery practice?
  2. Which factors influence the effectiveness of solid waste management practice in Nigeria?
  3. What is the association between the problems of SWM and effective solid waste management practice?

1.5 Significance of the Study

The study wanted to contribute on the current solid waste management practice and its influencing factors on the selected private companies in Nigeria.

Accordingly, the study would have the following significance.

  1. To show private companies and municipality about the current practice of solid waste management.
  2. To give clear understanding for private companies and municipality on how financial, technical, social, institutional and political aspects influences solid waste management effectiveness (collection, disposal and transportation) and in such can use recommendation for the problem remedial.
  3. To show private companies and municipality the relationship between influencing factors and SWM practice effectiveness and it helps them to apply what researcher recommended for remedial of problems.
  4. For researcher: It can be serving as a base point to conduct further research on this area.

1.6 Scope of the Study

The study focused on an assessment of the methods of solid domestic waste management in the state and was limited to the collection, storage, transport and final disposal of solid domestic waste.

1.7 Limitation of the Study

Like in every human endeavour, the researchers encountered slight constraints while carrying out the study. The significant constraint was the scanty literature on the subject owing to the nature of the discourse thus the researcher incurred more financial expenses and much time was required in sourcing for the relevant materials, literature, or information and in the process of data collection, which is why the researcher resorted to a limited choice of sample size. Additionally, the researcher will simultaneously engage in this study with other academic work.

1.9 Organization of Study

This study has organized into five chapters. The first chapter deals with the problem and its approach including research questions, objectives, scope, and significance of the study and definition of important terms. The second chapter focused on the literature review followed by the third chapter Research Methodology, Fourth chapter data presentation, and analysis. The last chapter has presented the conclusion and recommendation part of the study.

Chapter Five

Conclusions and Recommendation

5.1 Conclusions

The study has been conducted to address the current solid waste management practice and factors influencing its effectiveness in Nigeria. Based on the findings, the current solid waste service delivering practice of Nigeria is characterized by the huge generation of solid waste coupled with unbalanced solid waste service. The study found that key element of effective SWM such as waste collection, transportation and disposal practiced by private firms in the city was ineffective. The result shows that the survey companies are unable to fulfill most of the indicators of effective SWM practices in the research area.

This ineffective SWM practice in the survey companies was associated with the following constraints:
Insufficient financial allocation by government for private solid waste management companies – like service recovery charge, budget allocation, and the municipality willingness to pay those involved in waste service delivering and insufficiency of funds for promoting waste reduction, recycling were examined as influencing factor of effective solid waste management.

Next, technical skill problem like modern waste management vehicle and equipment with accessible spare parts, professional qualification of personnel, lack of infrastructures like accessible internal road were challenges in addressing effective solid waste management in Nigeria city. In addition, social influences such as city public awareness on solid waste management, the lack of adequate salary and benefits and low level of beneficiary‟s attitude for waste workers were examined as influencing factor of effective solid waste management. Also, institutional factors like an improper institutional setup, lack of integrated solid waste management, and lack of involvement by many institutions in SWM, insufficient and consistent waste management contract period with the municipality, and no integrated solid waste management practice between private and public agencies were factors influencing effectives of SWM. Finally, political aspect influences were moderate except for enforcement problems and socially unaccepted disposal site.

5.2 Recommendations

The following recommendations were made in conclusion of the study;

Financially, the city government should allocate enough money for the provision of solid waste management. Improving the service payment rate of private collectors, providing incentives, designing revenue generation mechanisms and access to credit system are required. The newly introduced payment system for private collectors should be revised through detail information about their cost of collecting and transporting.


For waste management to be effective there should be proper waste collection systems with qualified personnel, availability of modern vehicle and equipment so as to reduce environmental pollution and prevent health hazards.

The city government and private firms should ensure better waste management through waste reduction, reuse, and recycling of compost waste. The government should support business communities through pilot projects, funding training, and technical assistance information exchange follow up support and monitoring.


The agency should facilitate proper institutional structure and integrated waste management between stakeholders. It should elongate the duration of the contract agreement with private waste managing firms for potential cost recovery; besides, the contract agreement should be modified to allow the private firms work in a flexible manner. There should be continuous assessment of satisfaction about the service delivery and supervision function as well.


The cleaning agency and service delivering firms should provide awareness raising programs to inform the community about the danger and the consequences of waste, especially on illegal open dumping. Private waste managing firms also need to improve the status and conditions of workers by providing clothing adequate salary and benefits.


the research found out that there are policies and laws that promote about effective SWM but it lacks strict enforcement by-laws by the waste cleaning agency such that dumping of waste on open pits and drainages are common. This research recommends that existing by- laws should be strictly enforced in all areas of the city.

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