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Literature On Solid Waste Management In Nigeria Environmental Sciences Essay

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: Environmental Sciences
Wordcount: 5375 words Published: 1st Jan 2015

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Research both past and present into solid waste in Nigeria like most developing countries with an absence of adequate solid waste management system has been focused more on adequate collection and disposal options than on the waste generators, storage or even an avenue for waste reduction which aids in reuse and recycling, hence creating major gaps. These gaps are areas that need to address to ensure that there is a sustainable management of solid waste generated to prevent environmental hazards.

2.1.1 Purpose of the Literature Review

This chapter review gives an overview of the situation of solid waste management in developing countries critically examining and summarising studies by various researchers in academic books, professional and academic journals, published and unpublished works and electronic media. This literature review would aid in identifying appropriate methodology to achieve the aim of this research.

In addition, source separation a relatively understudied concept has been identified and recommended by many researchers as an avenue for waste reduction. It has also been suggested as providing alternative means of practicing proper waste management apart from collection and disposal. (Cointreau-Levine & Gopalan, 2000:Imam et al, 2008)

This study into institutional solid waste management with the aim of identifying dynamics that influence/affect separation at source at households in the campus will create a means of addressing waste reduction and proper implementation of solid waste management options. According to UNEP (2005), the logical starting point for the proper management of solid waste is to reduce the amounts of waste managed, either informally within the generator’s site or formally (externally) by another entity once the waste is discarded by the generator. Thereby reducing waste quantities collected or otherwise managed.

2.1.2 Literature Search

The search for literature can be very time consuming and futile if proper strategies are not developed. To aid in the literature search, the following was prepared:

Firstly, the topic, boundary (Developing countries: Nigeria) and problem statement was agreed on. Then I identified of the disciplines with a stake in solid waste. They include:

Health, Science and Technology

Waste & Waste Management

Environmental & Urban

Secondly, Keywords broad and narrow were developed. They are:

Municipal Solid waste , Solid waste Management

Institutional Solid Waste

Separation at source , Source separation

Waste segregation, separation

Household solid waste manag*

Participation/Incentives in solid waste

Motivating factors, attitudinal behaviours

Solid waste management in Nigeria

University of Benin

To this end, the author sought the advice of the WEDC resource centre manager. She showed me books and journals on solid waste (management) but told me that most of the journals were available online for latest on any research and my search will be more extensive using the internet. She also recommended the use of Loughborough University, search engine Metalib, for searching and interrogation of the various databases for articles and journals on the subject matter (Science direct, CSA illumina)

Following her recommendation and my initial write up, a data interrogation search was done using Metalib on the following database using the keywords above, either truncated, with * or adding two keyword together using the OR because the AND was giving irrelevant data .

Environmental Sciences and Pollution management Abstracts (CSA Illumina)

Aqualine (CSA Illumina)

Science Direct

From this site, the following journals were found with relevant data.

Waste Management

Waste Management and Research

Habitat International

Environmental Management

Resource, Conservation and Recycling

Google Search Engine and Goggle Scholar were searched using the keywords above.

The sources of information obtained include:

More Journals articles from the above stated journals

Solid waste Management Volume 1:United Nation Environmental Programme (UNEP)

J.C Agunwanba:(Google scholar) with articles on Waste management in some parts of Nigeria

The World Bank; Urban Solid Waste management (community initiatives)

WEDC & WELL factsheets and studies: solid waste management

I chose this approach to ensure an extensive and appropriate search in all areas of solid waste management and Research into developing countries of which Nigeria is apart. My use of the Internet was to ensure that as many recent journals, conferences and researches in Nigeria are available for scrutiny.

This systematic review will initially focus on identifying waste characteristics and components, then the roles and involvement of the different stakeholders, their attitudes and perspectives towards waste and finally the different concepts of source separation as it is practiced. This would help in analyzing and recognizing the past and present problems and solutions in cities and universities in developing countries especially Nigeria.

The summary section would scrutinize the methodologies used in the above reviewed literature and its adaptation for use in this research. Also included are the main findings from the reviewed literature and the gaps in knowledge this research aims to address.

2.2 Solid waste management practices in Developing countries.

In an attempt to accelerate the pace of its industrial development, an economically developing nation may fail to pay adequate attention to solid waste management. Such a failure incurs a severe penalty later in the form of reusable resources needlessly lost and a staggering adverse impact on the environment and on public health and safety.(UNEP, 2005) This is the problem presently facing most developing countries: rapid population growth due to rapid urban development hence more waste to manage. (Singhal & Pandey, 2001)

2.2.1 Waste Generation and Composition

The saying goes that “if you can measure it you can manage it” this is a viewpoint that is especially important and a solution that most developing countries have not been able to accomplish in solid waste management. There is no measure of the waste generated and so management becomes difficult and inefficient.

According to( Vaughan , 1971), information on the composition and quantity of solid waste is indispensable to design, implementation and operation of any solid waste management system of today and helps to forecast the requirements of tomorrow.

As stated above most developing countries are plagued with solid waste management problems that are degrading the urban environment and posing a serious threat to the natural resources and consequently holding back development (Sujauddin.,M., et al 2008) solving this problem will require knowledge about the per capital waste generated, composition and also attitudes towards waste. The authors found that there are many variables that affect the composition and the quantities of waste generated this include population growth, the socioeconomic factors (income, education, age, land ownership) which is the reverse for most developed countries.

The major constituents of developing countries waste is about 66% organic, which is about 30% of the total waste generated showing that composting, would be a very good way of waste management (recycling). (ibid)

2.2.2 Institutional Arrangement

The key institutions responsible for solid waste management services include public sector, formal private sector, informal private sector and community based non-governmental organisations. (ABC, 1988) The proper identification of their roles and responsibilities has been cited as a major influence in a sustainable solid waste management. At present, the public sector is responsible for service delivery of solid waste management in most developing countries and they are finding it difficult due to the rapid explosion in population growth hence more waste to manage. Some major problems that affect the municipalities’ inadequacy to provide good solid waste system include poor planning, lack of experienced staff, inappropriate equipments and technology, insufficient funds and landfill sites for disposal.( Coad, 2005: Hossain & Siwar 2002).

Collection, transportation and disposal have been a major problem in delivering efficient solid waste management services. In India cities collection efficiency is between 40 -70 % due to inadequate transport capacity and deficient workforce even with the municipalities’ allocation of 85-90% of the total budget to the service (Nema, 2004: Sharholy et al 2008)

To rectify this inadequacy and provide better services some sources have recommended institutional changes like privatization “transferring of the responsibilities to private sector while the public sector deals with policies and regulations” (Hossain & Siwar, 2002: Cointreau-Levine et al, 2000: World Bank,2003). The authors have argued that privatization will reduce the burden on government, increase the efficiency and effectiveness of municipal solid waste (MSW) services, decreases costs, source reduction and improve recycling thereby reducing the waste that goes for final disposal and increasing the life cycle of disposal sites. They also state that this can only work with sustainable frameworks supported by viable government policies and regulations.

Poor solid waste management creates serious threat to human health and well-being especially with indiscriminate open dumping which clogs drains and sewerage creating breeding grounds for rodents and insects leading to disease spread and ground water contamination.( Majani,2000:Gonzenbach.& Coad, 2007: Kumar et al, 2009)

To aid in proper solid waste management certain cities have set rules (Bennagen et al ,2002: Sarkhel & Banerjee, 2009) to necessitate the mandatory segregation of waste at generators level and also the concordance between collection and disposal facilities to ensure the establishment of local recycling and composting plants.

The study showed that households were ready to participate and their participation would increase if there was going to be regular collection, variable user charges and appropriate garbage collection i.e. not collecting both recyclables and other waste in the same vehicle. (Bennagen et al., 2002)

Informal Sector

The role of the informal sector (waste pickers, scavengers, sweepers) in solid waste management is identified as been crucial in waste reduction though to what amount it cannot be effectively determined.(Wilson et al , 2006). Most of their activities are driven by the need to supplement income and to reduce poverty. They operate at all levels in the solid waste chain from generation to disposal removing the recyclables and trading it. These waste pickers with organisation and support would create jobs for the minority in the society, reduce poverty, save municipalities money, improve industrial competitiveness, conserve natural resources and protect the environment. The government in many developing countries: Argentina, Brazil, India, Uruguay, Colombia, Mexico have identified the necessities of recognising and identifying this stakeholders especially in light of attaining Goal 7 of the millennium development goals thereby creating an inclusive, socially desirable, economically viable and environmentally sound solid waste management system. Waste pickers activities are recognised for their role in reducing the waste to be collected transported and disposed e.g. Jakarta 25% reduction. (Medina, 2008)

2.2.3 Attitudes and Preferences

Attitude is termed in this study as the feeling and thoughts while perception is “insight and awareness” which encourages participation.

To ensure the sustainability of any SWM system there has to be a change of government perception to that of recognising the importance of people. The current global challenges of urban solid waste (Ali, 2006(Ed)) states demand a people centred approach, change in public attitude to consumption and increased relationship between the people and the government. With new approaches to waste management to tackle the challenges of the increased waste generated by the population, increased cost of waste management leads to increase user charges. This (ibid) stated will only be sustainable if the government recognises the importance of people in planning, designing and operating any solid waste system.

Bisson (2002) stated that since waste is a product of human behaviour, to maintain a good waste management we need information on the behaviour and attitude of people with regard to waste and accurate data on waste generation

Source separation and other recycling practices at households is greatly supported in its role to reduction of waste, municipality costs but in practice might not be successful because of the understanding of funds and the workload involved. (Chung S.S & C.S Poon, 1996: Ghorbani et al, 2007). The authors concluded that economic incentives as well as education about environmental benefits of waste separation by householders would result in active participation of people in separating wastes in the home. Chung S.S & C.S Poon (1996) further found that consumption rate might increase if waste is recycled hence education awareness programs. They suggested that the involvement of all household members and not only the housewives, binary not multiple separation schemes will further increase its success rate.

One likely consequence of households paying close attention to their refuse is that people will become more aware of the waste they generate and will become less wasteful thus saving resources and further reducing collection costs. (Kassim, 2006)

Various authors (Bennagen., June 2002: Sujauddin.,M., et al 2008) have reported that there is an eagerness for communities to participate in solid waste management schemes, pay for services but the payment should not be unit but as per user and with government support.

2.2.4 Source Separation

Source separation according to GDRC (n.d) is the setting aside of compostable and recyclable materials from the waste stream before they are collected with other MSW, to facilitate reuse, recycling, and composting. During the UN conference in Johannesburg in 2002 reduction of waste through source separation was affirmed as one of the steps, which the local government can implement to maximize environmental sound waste use, recycling and diversion of useful materials from the waste stream.

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Facing the problems of solid waste management, (Strange, K 2002: UNEP, 2005) argues can be done through plans and programs which encourage source separation and this he stated will help in minimising waste for disposal. Schübeler et al (1996) further added that the introduction of source separation ought to be in a pragmatic and incremental manner beginning with pilot activities to access and encourage the interest and willingness of users to participate.

In most developing countries, the practice of source separation is by the informal sector at a very small scale. In cities of developing countries, source separation provides a means of employment, reduces the total amount of waste for disposal, and at landfills through the support of governing bodies and community based organisation (Lardinios & Furedy, 1999: Fehr et al, 2009)

Waste separation increases the quality of produced compost and recyclables, and optimizes incineration. It also enables better financing of waste management activities and minimizes the energy and labour inputs to any downstream processes (Murray, 1999).

Source-separation pilot programs have been tested in some developing countries but total recovery of recyclables have been hindered due to the large amount of water contents in the waste and high percentage of food waste food waste (Zhuang et al,2007: Tadesse., 2008),

The motivations for materials separation and reuse in developing countries include: scarcity or expense of virgin materials; the level of absolute poverty; income supplement, the frugal values of even relatively well-to-do households; and the large markets for used goods and products made from recycled plastics and metals. (UNEP, 2005: Sarkhel & Banerjee, 2009: Fehr et al, 2009) Fehr et al (2009) further recommended the introduction of legal instruments within a municipal model that mandate source separation and encourages educational and legal measures for solid waste management success.

(Joseph, 2006; Zhuang et al, 2007: Fehr et al, 2009 agree that any source separation program needs people centred participation, monitoring, awareness creation and support.

Below are some of the advantages of source separated over co-mingled waste

Table 1 Separate/mixed collection

Separate Collection

Mixed Collection

Extends landfill life. Removes potential recyclables from the waste stream.

Lowers net disposal costs.

Done by the household. No extra cost for the community.

Highly applicable to residential waste.

Industrial waste may be recycled through industrial waste exchanges.

An effective and reliable tool for recycling.

Can be implemented on small-scale, then expanded.

Recyclables are usually uncontaminated by garbage and other debris

It is not time or space consuming for the residents.

The facility does not need additional space to handle recyclables.

Basic technology is needed

The effectiveness of the collection system does not depend on how people prepare recyclables.

There is no need for established secondary markets

Guidelines for Municipal Solid Waste Management in the Mediterranean Region ( )

2.2.5 Solid waste practices in universities of developing countries

Higher institutions have the responsibility of having high moral and ethical obligation to the environment because they are expected to produce leaders in environmental protection movement.

Armijo de Vega (2008) research acknowledges the good use of campuses as a case study for solid waste management (SWM) options for the following reasons;

Not much has not been reported on the topic,

They been independent to a great extent, campuses can accommodate pioneering SWM approaches that can filter down to other communities later,

Thirdly, since it involves students at various levels it can serve to sensitize as well as easily train them in good SWM practices, and

Finally, SWM practices adopted by higher education institutions have a great potential of being adopted by surrounding communities because these institutions generally are held in high esteem.

The efforts towards responsible waste management should stem from these institutions. Besides, appropriate waste management would bring benefits to the institution such as a reduction of the financial resources destined to waste management, but, above all, it would set an example to the students and the community. (Mbuligwe .2002: Maldonado, 2006) Furthermore the authors discovered that the type of waste generated on campus (recyclables and organic) provides a lot of avenue for reuse, recycling and recovery thereby reducing the quantity of waste disposed in landfill by more than 60%.(ibid)

2.3 Solid waste management Practices in Nigeria

2.3.1 Waste Composition

Nigeria is a nation that exemplifies chronic solid waste management problems in conjunction with population growth. It is the most populous country in Africa, with over

120 million residents (World Bank 1996), and over the past 50 years, has had the third largest urban growth rate in the world at 5.51% annually (UNWUP 1999).

In Nigeria though there has been some studies into the determination of waste composition and generation to enhance the provision of solid waste management services, this studies are outdated (Adedibu 1985) or have been done at the landfills (Mbuligwe., 2002). This does not take into consideration the quantities of waste that are separated by the waste pickers and animals before collection. (Ogwueleka, 2009: Iman et al 2008 ) agree that indistinctive legislative policies and regulation, lack of data on the generated waste, inappropriate technology for collection and disposal, no planned framework and inadequate population characteristics are some of the factors affecting the knowledge of municipal solid waste composition in Nigeria to develop better disposal methods. Other factors include political, economic and social.

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The majority of substances composing municipal solid waste include paper, vegetable matter, plastics, metals, textile, rubber and glass (Ogwueleka, 2009:Imam., 2008). They found that the major component of solid waste is organic waste (40-64%) which is wetter, corrosive with high density (Ogwueleka, 2009)and agree that composting will be an adequate solid waste practice to reduce the waste especially (Iman et al 2008) with the removal of government subsidies for the sale of fertilizers creating a market for it.

Controlled landfill (Adedibu, 1985) stated is another SWM option for disposal. This is not recommendable because of the complex technology and funds which the government cannot provide. Efficient recycling and composting could save 18.6% in waste management costs and 57.7% in landfill cost (Agunwamba, 1998).

Waste characteristics vary according to season, population, climate, and industrial production, the size of markets for waste materials and the extent of urbanization, effectiveness of recycling, and work reduction. (Ogwueleka, 2009). Other factors affecting increased waste generation among residents in Nigeria cities are change in social economic and educational circumstance.

2.3.2 Attitudes and Perceptions

According to (Agunwamba, 2003: Iman et al 2008) public awareness, social ideals, beliefs and attitudes to waste can affect all stages in the solid waste management process. This has an impact on household waste storage, waste segregation, recycling, collection frequency, littering and “fly-tipping” (illegal dumping), willingness to pay for waste management services, and the level and type of opposition to waste treatment and disposal facilities.

In Nigeria, the general public attitude towards waste management is poor. . A man may live in a neatly kept house but refuse to cooperate with his fellow residents in keeping the surroundings of the building clean. As long as the waste materials are not inside his house, he feels no concern. Government attitude towards solid waste management is the introduction of in appropriate technology without the consultation of the people using the services (Agunwamba, 1998). In addition, they consider the informal sector a menace (Ogwueleka, 2009) and try all means to eradicate them.

Most Nigerians associated wealth with lavish spending, which generates much waste as a by-product. They perceive waste pickers/workers as poor and so make little or no effort to cooperate in waste management activities. Similarly, in homes waste removal to bins classified as children’s work. Since the bins were not designed with, their small stature wastes are dumped on the ground, creating more work for the waste workers and increasing collection time reducing efficiency. (ibid)

As for the waste workers, poor remuneration and stagnation in promotion has created a reduced interest in proper solid waste management. They go about doing their jobs haphazardly. The poor attitude to waste been exhibited can be changed with proper enlightenment programs and patient extension efforts that are reinforced continuously even after project completion. This will negate ignorance, materialistic tendencies, and apathy and reinforce their responsibility to the environmental. (Agunwamba, 1998)

2.3.3 Institutional Arrangement

With knowledge of the illegal dumping of toxic waste in June 1988, (Adegoroye., 1994) the Federal Environmental Protection Agency (FEPA) was created. The landmark Federal legislation on environmental protection in Nigeria was the decree Number 58 of 1988, which established the Federal Environmental Protection Agency (FEPA). The specific role of FEPA with respect to solid waste management is to (Onibokun, 1999):

Study the most reliable systems that are appropriate for local, domestic and industrial wastes.

Specify waste disposal and treatment methods that take into consideration the geological and environmental setting and encourage recycling.

Specify waste disposal sites that guarantee the safety of surface and underground water systems.

Set up and enforce standards for adequate sanitary facilities for the disposal of human and other solid wastes in dwellings, housing estates and public facilities in both urban and rural areas.

Establish monitoring programmes including periodic surveillance of approved waste disposal sites and their surroundings and waste water systems.

Establish monitoring stations for the control of the disposal of leachate from dumpsites into surface water and groundwater systems

Under this Act, all states and local government set up their own environmental protection body for the protection and improvement of the environment within its jurisdiction. In 1999 (Ogwueleka, 2009), FEPA was taken over by the Federal Ministry of Environment to combat some of the challenges faced which include absence of pollution waste management laws, lack of environmental enforcement, funding, role conflicts power play between FEPA workers and some powerful individuals whose companies not ready to pay for services. It still conformed to all the regulation stated above but even with this change of hands, there was still inadequate provision of solid waste services in Nigeria.

According to (Imam et al, 2008: Ogwueleka, 2009) solid waste management in Nigeria is characterised by in efficient collection methods, insufficient coverage of the collection system and improper disposal. Lack of institutional arrangement, insufficient funds absence of standards and by-laws, insufficient information on waste composition and quantity, inflexible work schedule and inappropriate technology transfer are the common constraints faced by environmental agencies in solid waste management.75-95% of the revenue of solid waste is spent on collection and disposal and only 40-70% is collected from the urban areas. Most of the rural areas have no SWM facility.

Presently emphasis is been focused on better institutional arrangement through privatization and less on collection and disposal due to the inadequate government service delivery. Privatization is been tested in cities like Abuja (Imam., 2008), Lagos (Ogwueleka, 2009) and Benin (Ogu., 2000) but have not improved the service delivery due to all the factors above including corruption, lack of planning of route service delivery, affordability and acceptability.

Finally, (Ogwueleka, 2009) argued that since in Nigeria there is an abundance of cheap labour the use of a low capital cost and labour intensive solution that reduces poverty will be preferred. It should include low technology like handcarts and pickup trucks for collection, informal sector involvement (waste pickers), training, local waste recycling and reduction projects, transfer stations to reduce operating cost, community participation and involvement.

In conclusion Adegoreyo, (1994) stated that stable leadership and firm commitment of government in formative years to any enforcement programme with set goals, objectives and responsibilities including capacity building should be uttermost to ensure the improvements.

2.3.4 Source Separation

Studies into source separation in Nigeria though it is highly relevant according to most researchers are not been preformed. (Onibokun., 1999: Ogu., 2000: Agunwamba, 2003).This has constrained the author to review literature of other developing countries, implementation methods and success rate of source separation to infer if it will adequate for Nigeria.

The scavengers do little or no form of recycling it is more of reuse. (Agunwamba, 2003)

Informal Practices

In Nigeria, gifts of clothes and goods to relatives, charities, and servants as a means of source separation are significant in waste reduction. However, the greatest amount of materials recovery is achieved through the following:

(a) Itinerant waste buyers (IWBs): These are waste collectors who often go from door-to-door, collecting specific recyclable materials and/or organic wastes from households, which they buy or barter. Individual IWBs tend to specialize in one or two kinds of materials.

(b) Street waste picking: Secondary raw materials recovered from mixed waste found on streets or extracted from communal bins before collection.

(c) Municipal waste collection crew: Secondary raw materials recovered from vehicles transporting waste to disposal sites.

(d) Waste picking from dumps: Waste pickers/ scavengers sort through waste before it is covered at the site of final disposal, which is still generally open dumping in Nigeria. (Wilson et al, 2009)

From the point of view of waste reduction, the traditional practices of repair and reuse, and the sale, barter, or gift-giving of used goods and surplus materials are an advantage to the poorer countries. Quantities of inorganic post-consumer wastes entering the MSW stream would be higher if these forms of waste reduction did not exist.(UNEP,2005)

Formal Practices.

There is no formal practice in place for source separation at present although Federal Ministry of Environment (2000) specified in the Blue print for municipal solid waste management (MSWM) in Nigeria that separation at source is one of the viable alternatives/complement to an integrated solid waste management programme.

2.3.5 Solid waste practices in universities in Nigeria

2.4 Solid waste practices in University of Benin, Benin-City

Solid waste management in the university is the collection and disposal of waste. The waste generated is placed in bins for collection. There is no informal sector to do any separation though some of the waste workers salvage the useful recyclables for reuse but this does not even account for up to 1% of the total amount generated. Most times the waste generated is so much that not all the waste is removed during collection so decomposition begins on the left over waste, which will cause bad odours and breeding grounds for rodents and disease carrying insects. Some leachates are also produced which might pollute the land and water around. The final disposal site for the waste is an open dump that allows further pollution because there is no control over waste deposited or the by-products of open dump disposal. Without adequate attention, there is a major risk to the health of the staff and students in the university and to the environment.

3. Summary of Literature Review

3.1 Methodologies

Most of the researches into waste characterization were studied using quantitative and qualitative methods (questionnaires, interviews, observation, focus groups and fieldwork) this is to ensure the viability of the studies and close the loop (Chung S.S & Poon C.S.,1996: Ghorbani M. et al , 2007:Imam., 2008). For sampling, random sampling was employed since some information about the sample space is known


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