The Problems Of Urban Waste Disposal And Management

Project and Seminar material for Public Administration

Project and Seminar material for Public Administration

Chapter One

1.1 General Background

There were efforts, some of them commendable made at various times, in Enugu to improve the environmental and atmospheric conditions of the different part of the capital city. These have include the clearing of the city of large amounts of refuse site and dumps indiscriminately located within living abodes, which blocked several access routes.

This has opened up some of the area, provided access to part of the city litter to block and also more open spaces for recreation. All this efforts failed the test of time by not sustaining the search for a clean city. Therefore, Afuabi in his write up in the National Concord described these “attempts as mainly cosmetic and that the characteristic of under-development seemed to be the prevalence of urban slum and rural squalor”

To deal with the situation the 1976 local government reform assigned specifically the functions of maintaining and promoting environmental health to the local councils. This was a view to finding a means of solving the problem of environmental decay within the urban center in particular. Inspite of this provision, refuse disposal within the urban center of Enugu remained a problem. Enugu Local Government lacked the required assigned functions. Admolekum, put in vividly this. “ This list of Local Government Functions could be impressive whilst the financial and human resources necessary for effective performance are grossly inadequate”. There was continuous decline in the sanitary condition of the capital city.

In 1984, the government of Anambra State before division established the task force on Works, Housing, vehicle and Environmental Sanitation.

This was an ad-hoc body, which was military in character and operation and therefore, depended on the application of task force to achieve its objective. The taskforce instituted penalties such as times paid on whips. Compliance with sanitation regulation was with “immediate effect,” hence, the unconditional acceptance by the people to pay the required levies what sustained the operations of the taskforce. Under the situation of fear and force compliance with sanitation regulation, the solution to the problem of decay and squalor, particularly as it related to refuse disposal within Enugu was a temporary basis and might not be sustained nor might it stand the test of the time, in the light of this fact as indicated by Obasi in his contribution. The Anambra State Government later decided to establish a more permanent organ whose mandate would span not only the immediate challenge of ensuring a clean environment but also the long term task of inculcating in the public a heightened and enduring sense of sanitary consciousness.

The efforts to achieve an effective waste disposal management in Enugu Urban notwithstanding, the issue of refuse disposal in Enugu Urban continued to pose enormous problems. The researcher therefore decided to carryout a study in order to find out why these problems have persisted in spite of the efforts and strategies that have been employed.

1.2 Problems Associated With The Subject Matter

The management of solid waste particularly has been facing a great problem. There has been the general lack of equipment and exodus of well-trained personnel required for the job. Another problem has been the demolition of built up refuse deposits. There was also lack of refuse disposal vehicle such as closed refuse trucks and open tippers. The heavy equipment such as Bulldozer and pail-loaders required for the maintenance of the final disposal site were also lacking. However, where they exist, many of them are either old or broken down, moreover, the vehicles and heavy equipment that are in order have often been diverted to un-official uses by some field official.

There was also the issue of refuse workers not being properly deployed while the payment of their salaries were most often delayed even for months.

Most importantly, there has been lack of adequate finance, which affected all the facets of the operation of Enugu State Environmental Protection Agency in Enugu. Onwumelu put this fact in perspective when he said, “the task of maintaining an Environment free of filth cannot be achieved unless there was fund”.

There is also the need for the basic infrastrutural support and equipment or tools.

1.3 Problem That The Study Will Be Concerned With

The study is centered on the operation of the Enugu State Environmental Protection Agency. Specifically, the study deals with urban waste disposal in Enugu Urban. It is not concerned with the collection of hazardous or toxic waste, which may also be generated within an urban center given the multiple occupations of Enugu for both residential and commercial/industries purposes.

Also the concern of the study is to investigate the problem of Enugu urban waste disposal and management by Enugu State Environmental Protection Agency.

This research work was faced with a lot of constraints that made the research to skip certain vital and relevant areas.

These constraints include:

  1. Finance and Time Constraints: due to lack of finance and time which is not at the researcher’s disposal, the research work was limited to only Enugu metropolis.
  2. Un-cooperation attitude of the respondents: some of the respondents refused bluntly to be interviewed while others returned their questionnaires blank, may be they thought their responses would reprimand them without being mindful of their earlier assurance that their responses would be treated with the strictest confidence.
  3. Scarcity of comprehensive literature:

Due to the scarcity of related literatures, it was not very easy for the researcher to lay hand on enough information that is relevant to this study.

1.4 The Importance Of Studying The Area

The study is primarily undertaken with the aim of providing some level of information to government, urban development and ENSEPA, which serves as a case study. This study will assist the management of the ENSEPA in making comprehensive review of its waste management policy and strategies.

It is important as a basis for further research on the management of urban waste disposal on how effective is the disposal operation of ENSEPA, as well as how adequate are the equipment at this disposal of ENSEPA for its operation in Enugu and the required funds for the operation of ENSEPA provided.

1.5 Definition Of Important Terms

Proper disposal of waste: provision made for collection of these waste at a regular interval.


Street of dirty


Material or substance that is unwanted because the good part of them has been removed.


Waste material that has been thrown away.

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