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Solid Waste Management Practice In Uniben Environmental Sciences Essay

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: Environmental Sciences
Wordcount: 5369 words Published: 1st Jan 2015

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Rapid increase in volume and types of solid and hazardous waste as a result of continuous economic growth, urbanization and industrialization, is becoming a burgeoning problem for national and local governments of developing countries to ensure effective and sustainable management of waste. It is estimated that in 2006 the total amount of municipal solid waste (MSW) generated globally reached 2.02 billion tonnes, representing a 7% annual increase since 2003 (Global Waste Management Market Report 2007).

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Attaining a sustainable environment is Goal 7 of MDGs of which the general management of solid waste is a vital part and should be properly designed. In Nigeria like most developing countries, Solid waste management has become an acute problem because of lack of funds and/or little or no attention paid to proper handling and disposal of solid waste leading to larger quantities of waste materials requiring management.

Presently ways to reduce waste have not been prioritized in the solid waste management schemes been put in place in Nigeria, only increasing the coverage areas and developing sustainable disposal methods. This present scheme of management is not in any way helping but exacerbates the problem to the extent that it is having an enormous deteriorating effect on the environment making it dirty, unsafe, unhealthy and breeding grounds for diseases causing pests. Presently open dumping/burning is the norm and these create problems like leacheate (pollution of land, ground water and water bodies) and air pollution which contributes to global warming. This will in the long run be harmful to the environment. The causes of inadequate solid waste management can be tied to insufficient funds for implementation, absence of rules, regulations and policies.

In University of Benin, Benin-City, (UNIBEN) as in other parts of Benin City which has no solid waste management plan, nor programme to reduce, reuse and recycle solid waste. The current practice is to manage waste wholesale. This is becoming a daunting task because of the large population of people resident on campus. The absence of an adequate solid waste management plan has lead to the growing heaps of mixed waste at kerbsides and communal bins for final disposal at the open dumpsite around the university. This method of co-mingled storage doesn’t allow for proper handling, collection and disposal creating an avenue for pollution when the waste is not properly managed at source and especially at the uncontrolled dumpsite.

The diversion of a major portion of compostable waste from disposal, which is a significant amount of solid waste in most developing countries through source separation, will bring greater gain to the solid waste management sector. The author’s acuity is that source separation will go a long way in solid waste management since it is an effective step in recovering recyclables and has been tested and tried in many countries and it has worked. (Lardinois, .I & Furedy., C, 1999)

According to (Zhuang.Y et al, 2008; Fehr. M et al (2009)) separating at source if implemented properly will create an avenue for reducing the quantity of wastes that has to be disposed, recyclables that are readily available for reuse thereby reducing expenditure spent on solid waste management and increase of the useful life of the dumpsite.

Considering, the introduction of any new program(source separation), the interest and willingness of the service users to participate will have to be sort and the program implementation will have to be done in a pragmatic and incremental manner to encourage and access its effect (Schübeler et al,.1996;Zhuang.Y et al, 2008).

The University of Benin was founded in 1970.  It started as an institute of technology and was accorded the status of a full-fledged university by National Universities Commission (NUC) on 1st July, 1971. Today, the University has continued to grow from strength to strength with a number of faculties, departments, institutes and units. The university offers courses at various levels: postgraduate, undergraduate, diploma and certificate.  Presently, the total student enrolment stands at over 40,000 made of both full-time and part-time students shared among the various faculties. This increases every year and is majorly dependent on the number of students admitted and those who graduated. The university main campus consists of residential (240 staff residents, 8 undergraduate hostel with about 1000 students each and 2 postgraduate hostels with 80 students each), education (classrooms, offices and laboratories) and commercial (restaurants and shopping centres) areas. The drastic increase for enrolment has enlarged the population inevitably increasing the amount of waste generated due to all the hostels been self-catering.

In the University of Benin main campus, looking at solid waste management is advantageous because firstly it is an enlightened society with a lot of intellectuals, secondly there are a lot of young minds there who are ready to take in change as it pertains to the improvement of the society and finally the school (health care department) been vastly responsible for waste management which includes waste collection, transport and disposal makes it easy for them to fashion out their own solid waste management system (regulations and strategies) that could help to improve waste management practices at present.

Mbuligwe (2002) investigating SWM in three Tanzania Institutions stated that the residents been learned, under one authority and subject to some rules and regulations are more inclined to accept a code of good waste handling practice. This he concluded advances the notion that municipal solid waste management can be improved through efforts focused on individual sources with emphasis on waste minimization rather than provision for disposal. Also Armijo de Vega (2008) acknowledges the good use of campuses as a case study for solid waste management (SWM) research options for the following reasons; not much has 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. Tchobanoglous (1993) also found out that focusing on waste source is justified in terms of management because the waste characteristics and composition differ depending on the source.

The residential areas on campus are identified as the major contributor at the waste stream so it justifies individual attention. Minimizing waste generation at source by implementing a model for waste reuse and focusing on better management practices at household and hostels through source separation can save the space at dumpsites and further cut down on the potential pollution effect from solid waste. At the helm of solid waste management, hierarchy is; reduce, reuse and recycle. From the author’s perspective, this can be brought about by source separation, which has been identified as a cost effective practice of managing solid waste thereby reducing the additional time, effort, and cost that would be incurred if waste were mixed.

Over the years, the large intake of students into the university has increased the amount of waste generated since all the hostels are self catering. This and the absence of good SWM practice has allowed for the increase in the heaps of comingled waste that can be seen all over the school given rise to a looming environmental hazard which if not controlled will adversely pollute the air, land and water. Hence the research into this study

This study into solid waste management at household level through source separation in the university campus aims to find out

the characteristics and composition of household waste on campus

the identify factors/dynamics which will determine the level and extent of participation

Finally, proposes a potential of an environmentally sustainable waste management scheme.

1.2 Aims

The aim of this study is to ascertain the amount and composition of waste and discover the reduction in the amount that goes for disposal through identifying present solid waste practice, source separation and recognizing the factors that will facilitate people participation and attitudes at household level so as to discern better solid waste management alternatives.

1.3 Objectives

To determine the characteristics of residential solid waste in the university of Benin main campus.

To investigate the present storage practices at households and its adequacy

To identify the factors and dynamics of solid waste management through piloting of source separation at household level on campus.

To propose a practical framework that can be implemented for better solid waste management in the University of Benin to reduce waste for final disposal.

1.4 Research Questions

Who are the key generators of residential waste and what are the constituents of this waste?(a) (c)

What is the present solid waste practice and is it adequate? (b)(c)

Who disposes of the waste in the home?(c)

Have you heard of waste separation and do you practice it?(c)

What are the perceptions and attitudes of the key stakeholders to solid waste (b) (c) (d)

What are the percentage compositions of the waste and what method of separation is preferred (a) (c) (d)

What is the adequate solution for the solid waste management: compost , recycling nothing (d)

1.5 Scope of Work

Of importance to this research in university of Benin is the identification of the sources, dynamics and different composition of the solid waste from households and hostels especially the major composition. People participation is also required if the pilot program of source separation is to achieve improvement to solid waste management and also divert some of the waste from the dumpsite. The research was carried out in the month of June 2010.

1.6 Study Outline

The study contains six chapters systematic detailing the progression from the background of the research including problem, past and present literature to complement and identify the gap through to data collection methods, analysis, discussion and finally conclusion.

Chapter 2 Literature review

This chapter attempts to gives an overview of past and present research into solid waste management in developing countries and universities especially Nigeria in an attempt to identify the gaps and also the present practices been adapted.

Chapter 3 Research design and Methodology

In this chapter the aim, objectives and questions to be answered by this research are further highlighted in an attempt to justify the choice of research methods employed. The data collection procedures, techniques for analyzing the data and the issues taken into consideration during the field work are addressed

Chapter 4 Findings and Analysis

Qualitative and quantitative data obtained during the field studies are analyses in detail in this chapter. Also major observations and discrepancies in the recorded data are detailed and analyzed here.

Chapter 5 Discussions

This chapter minutiae the discussions of the results of the data analyses and the major findings implication as pertains to the research in terms of proper solid waste management in the university.

Chapter 6 Conclusion and Recommendation

Finally, this chapter presents the conclusions of the study by seeking to answer the research aims and objectives based on all the findings, analysis and discussions thereby presenting conclusions on the adequacy of the research in the management of institutional solid waste.

1.7 Conclusion

This chapter has given the background to the study by introducing the research aims, objectives and questions thus providing justification and laying the foundation for this research. It highlights the problems presently facing solid waste management and the present practices been utilized.

3. Research Methodology

3.1 Introduction.

Chapter 2 reviewed the body of knowledge on solid waste management in general with references and inferences to separation at source. This chapter will further clarify the aims of the research, stating the methods used for answering the research questions. All aspects of field work are explained including the data collection method, analysis, analytical framework of the research.

3.2 Research Aims

This research will undertake to increase the knowledge base in terms of solid waste management in Nigerian universities.

The research aims to ascertain the amount and composition of waste and discover the reduction in the amount that goes for disposal through identifying present solid waste practice, source separation and recognizing the factors that will facilitate people participation and attitudes at household level so as to discern better solid waste management alternatives.

This aim will be achieved through the following objectives

Determination of the characteristics of the solid waste in residence on campus

The answer will lead to finding out how much waste is generated, the components and quantities per household. The finding will then contribute in proposing a framework for a better solid waste management in the university.

Investigating the present solid waste storage practices

The answer will better allow for the proposal of a better collection and disposal system that will adequately address the present situation of indiscriminate dumping.

Identify the factors and dynamics of solid waste management through piloting of source separation at household level.

This information will have an influence on the framework to be proposed and the finding will enlighten the author on the reason for the present situation of solid waste management.

To propose a practical framework that can be implemented for better solid waste management in the University of Benin to reduce waste for final disposal.

The findings from the questions above will help in proposing an adequate answer for this question which will address the inadequate solid waste management at present.

The nature of this research been qualitative and quantitative will require mixed methods

(Interviews, observations and field study to ensure its reliability and validity. Below are the details of the methodologies and the reasons behind their use in this study.

3.2 Triangulation

According to Yin. R.K.,(1999) validity and reliability of a research can be checked with the use of multiple sources of evidence i.e. using one source to confirm the results from a different source (triangulation). With the use of multiple sources the inherent risk of distortion is reduced and potential problems of validity can be addressed because of the provision of multiple measures of the same phenomenon (Yin. R.K.,1999).Triagulation adds rigour to research (Robson. C., 2002)

Ellis.L., (1994) defined the term “reliabilty” as the extent to which a procedure (data collection) yields the same answer when it is repeated and “validity” is the extent to which a piece of study gives the correct answers.

Validity concerns whether or not the method employed truly measures what it intended to measure and it is divided into firstly internal validity:which identifies if the causes actually produce the response/effect and secondly external validity(generalisability) which is the extent to which a research result can be extrapolated beyond the immediate sample. (Bryman., 2001)

These concerns are taking into consideration when the different research methods are chosen, designed and applied. To this effect the tools where reviewed by the supervisor, peers at WEDC and was pilot tested within Nigerian students at Loughborough before it was actually employed in the field for data collection.

3.3 Research Design

Qualitative research is often based on subjective data items, which cannot be given a numeric value, for example the attitudes and opinions of a range of individuals on an issue. Anthropological study, for example, may be based on small details of people’s experience, collected through observation. These will be described in words rather than numbers, and statistical generalisations cannot be drawn from them. (Bernard, 1995)

Quantitative research is based on scientific method. It purports to be as objective as possible, and is often based on statistics or other measurable, empirical data. Conclusions will be drawn from the analysis of things clearly measured

The research been qualitative and quantitative solicits the use of interviews because of its trend for collecting straightforward factual information especially for subtle and complicated matters and questionnaires because it has been known to collect information from a large sample size ( Chung., et al,1994; Zhuang, Y et al, 2008)

3.4 Data Collection Methods

3.4.1 Interviews

There are three different types of interviews and the option of choice will depend on the objectives that the research hopes to achieve.

A. Structured Interviews

These are questionnairelike administered face to face with respondent and involve tight control over the format of the preset questions. These questions have limited answers which helps in ‘standardization’ i.e. replication of interview with other respondents. It also allows for easy data analysis and the collection of quantitative data. Structured interviews are used where the respondents are too many and are associated with social surveys .it doesn’t allow for full input of the interviewee and his views about an issue.

B. Semi Structured Interviews

These are interviews where the preset questions are based on apparent issues to be addressed and need to be answered. The topic order consideration is flexible allowing the respondents to develop ideas and expand on the issues raised by the interviewer within the issue restriction. Answers produced here are open ended and there is more elaboration on identified points of interest. This is a better way to discover things about complex issues and allows for respondents trust and a relaxed atmosphere.This allows for collection of both qualitative and quantitative data.

C. Unstructured Interview

Here the research role is to be as un-intrusive as possible, introduce a theme or topic and allow the interviewee to develop ideas and pursue train of thoughts. Unstructured interviews can digress way beyond the issue been discussed and will take a lot of time to administer. It has the tendency of get too much information of which is not needed.

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View our services Face To Face Semi structured Interview

In this study semi structured interview data was used to find out the present solid waste management practice, attitudes towards waste and identify the key stakeholders involved in solid waste management in university of Benin thereby answering objectives b, c and d since they can acquire the opinions, feelings, emotions, experience etc that are needed for this research.


Collecting data from everyone in the area been studied might not be possible so sampling is done. Based on Denscombe.,M (2003) who inferred that social research sampling relies on getting evidence from a sample in the expectation that the findings in the sample space will be similar to those found among the rest of the population been investigated. Two types of sampling techniques where identified: probability and non probability sampling. Probability sample is based on the notion that the chosen sample will be a representative of the whole population while non-probability conducted without such knowledge.

Purposive Sampling

Purposive sampling a type of non-probability sampling as the name implies is used when the researcher knows some information about the case study and deliberately selects the respondents that will be able to produce the most valuable data.

The Director of Health Services and Environmental Health officer been chosen and the rest of the sample will be purposively selected based on the available waste workers present during the 2 weeks study. This will included a selection of cleaners and waste workers

Face to Face semi-structured interviews with preset and spontaneous questions in a relaxed atmosphere were conducted with the Director of Health services, Environmental Health Officer and Cleaning Supervisor. This allowed for diverse and descriptive answers. The objectives of this interviews was to

Establish a rapport with the responsible authorities and enlist their cooperation for this study

Establish the present waste storage and collection practices (procedures /schedules)

Establish present disposal options

Establish the perception and attitudes towards source separation of waste.

Opinion of a pilot sustainability solid waste program

The Interview is used because the reviewers are of a small quantity and their attitudes as well as inference will have to be captured to ensure that they are properly understood. A tape recorder was used for verbatim record taking to reduce the risk of errors. The interview was carried out using the following checklist below:

Recipients of waste collection service

Method and frequency of collection

Nature of the waste collected

Problems with collection and disposal

Disposal options

Waste management costs as a proportion of university budget

Envisaged benefits and constraints of source separation

Opinions on different solid waste management programs

3.4.2 Questionnaires

Questionnaires are survey tools used by researches for collecting information which can be used subsequently as data analysis. This tool for research is not set to change people’s attitudes or provide them with information but to get their opinion (discover things). They gather information by asking people directly about the aspect of the research been investigated. It consists of a written list of identical questions that allows for consistency, precision in wordings and makes the process of answering easier for different respondents. They are also very adequate where people are able to read and understand the question and that is so in the university. They are also an inexpensive ways to gather data from a potentially large number of respondents. Questionnaire surveys

In this study the questionnaire survey data will be used to answer objectives b and c at households and hostels since the information to be gathered is from a potentially large number of respondents certainly more than I can interview. They are the only feasible way to reach the large number of residents enough to allow for statistically analysis of the results especially in the university where there are always activities during the daytime. It is also used to effectively gather information on both the overall performance of the source separation as well as information on specific variables to be compared. The variables, which include the age, gender, and educational status, will be analysed with the level of awareness and participation in source separation and waste using quantitative analysis. To provide data that can be easily coded and analyzed, two forms of questions are used yes/no questions and multiple choice questions between a lists of options. These kinds of questions correspond to closed questions. Also some forms of open questions were incorporated to allow for remarks and free comments from households and students.


Probability and non probability sampling methods where employed in this study because of the vast number of respondents and the uncertainty of the questionnaires reception.

With this knowledge, random sampling a type of probability sampling was employed in the first part of the studies.

Random sampling: is an approach that involves the selection of people or events based on the fact that there is a large number to select from and selected and then purposive sampling a type of non-probability sampling was used to choose the sample size.

Purposive sampling: as the name implies is used when the researcher knows some information about the case study and deliberately selects the ones that will seem to be able to produce the most valuable data

The sample will be purposively selected based on house numbers and hostel blocks and also on the answer to initial randomly administered survey to the staff and students at all levels residing on campus. The direction for random sampling will be knowingly deployed on entering into the population allowing for proper representation of all cross-sections.

The university has over 240 staff residents:(Profs, A & B quarters, Blocks of Flats and junior staff quarters (JSQ)) on campus and over 8000 students in undergraduate hostel both male and female and about 160 in postgraduate hostels. The sample size chosen was in light of the period, labour, finance available and the level of accuracy demanded in the findings. The sample required is 15 households which represent about 5 % of the households on campus, 400 students which represents 5% of the students’ population (2 blocks in a standard hostel).

Based on the authorization granted for the research from the Director of health services and the Dean of students, six undergraduate assistants with basic knowledge in solid waste management were enlisted as research assistants. They were given basic training in the objective of the study, approaching potential participants and responding to skeptical participants. two male and two female students were equipped with 150 questionnaires each (as shown in appendix A) for four hostels on campus while the author and the remaining two students went to the households to administer 50 questionnaires each. The questionnaires were numbered based on room or house numbers and the information recorded in a data book to assist in case of a repeat and to store adequate information. The questionnaire was both filled and collected immediately or a return date was given for collection. Phone numbers were also collected to ensure that all the questionnaires still out were collected. Completed questionnaires coded every day Questionnaire Sections

The questionnaire designed used for the undergraduate, postgraduate and household survey as shown in Appendix A. this was divided into 4 parts to help answer the research questions

Part A – General Information

This provided personal information on the respondents. Some information provided here will aid in judge the relationship between other variables in the survey. e.g. Age, sex and educational level

Part B – Storage Practices

This section aids to understand the present storage practice, the dynamics in waste management, the willingness to participate and the level of participation.

Part C – Collection Practice

The objective of this section is to understand the present collection system, awareness and the satisfaction of service delivery.

Part D – Waste Attitude

This assesses the respondents attitude towards waste and to what extent they are will to participate in a composting scheme.

3.4.3 Observations

Personal observations can be the most useful tool to a researcher. They are mostly utilized in research to triangulate methods been employed. Their uses include describing settings, activities, and people’s reaction, augment interview responses and check the accuracy of recall in interviews and answers to questionnaires. This helps to uncover context i.e. impressions and surprises to help in interpreting data (Scheyvens & Storey, 2003).

This study used observations to observe the respondents reception to the questionnaires, the pilot program of source separation and to cross check the present solid waste management practices with that stated by the respondents. Also interviewing some respondents the mannerism of which they answered or evaded certain questions were taken into perspective in this study.

3.4.4 Field Study

According to Furedy. Y (1999) separation at source refers to the practice of setting aside post-consumer materials and household goods so that they do not enter mixed waste streams. The purposes are recycling, reuse or improved waste management. Source Separation Method.

The purpose of household source separation was to find out the composition of the waste, the level of participation and finally if another method of waste management can be implemented with the findings and it answered objectives a, c and d.


Based on the answers to the questionnaires randomly administered to households and to several blocks of undergraduates’ hostels to gauge the level of participation, purposive sampling was used to achieve the sample size needed. The six undergraduate students were given one day training on the requirements of the waste sampling survey, protection during sampling and on daily and weekly collection of the samples.

Four one trip plastic sacks: black for Wet waste (food and garden waste) and white for Dry waste (metals, plastics, textiles, paper, glass, others: batteries) were provided for each household to separate their waste. Also included were some posters for identification and constant reminder to aid in the proper separation of waste. The bags were given to the households by a research assistant on Monday about 7am after the collection of the bags before so that the waste measured is only for seven days and not included with the next week’s waste.

For the hostels, 2, 80 litres plastic bins was bought and placed on each block for 2 blocks each for girls, boys and postgraduate hostels. In the bins was placed a white bag for collection of the recyclables while the other waste was placed in the provided bins. The waste is collected every morning by 7am. The waste was analyzed on site by first checking if proper separation was done and then the different components weighed. This weekly analysis was done for the household but the hostels a daily onsite separation was done.

The dry “white” waste bag was opened, deposited on a dry surface and the different components as classified in table 1 below separated and weighed using a weighing machine. The components of the waste, total waste and also the percentage of separation are recorded. A field book was kept where all field experience was written daily for hostels and weekly for households

In collecting the waste a car was employed which went around collecting the waste either from the householders themselves or from the waste bin which is located at the side of each household.

SURVEY TABLE 1 Household/Hostel Waste Sample

House No

Waste Components

Weight (kg)




Food and Garden waste





3.5 Justification of context

The study is carried out in University of Benin because of practical and institution reasons. The university being


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